UAE becomes the first country in the world to run a fully digital election.
Voters were able to cast their ballots remotely Online and from electronic kiosks at voting centers.
Realtime biometric facial recognition was used to authenticate voters.
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, October 11, 2023 – The United Arab Emirates has officially held the world’s first completely digital election, a result of the partnership between the Ministry of State for Federal National Council Affairs (MFNCA) and Scytl, leader in online voting and electoral modernization.
The elections for the Federal National Council (FNC) were held from the 4th to the 7th of October. The UAE voters had the option to vote remotely online from any location or in-person using electronic voting kiosks at one of the 24 vote centers distributed throughout the country.
Biometric facial recognition was used to securely and seamlessly authenticate voters before voting online. This is the first time this has been used at scale for a national election anywhere in the world.
A total of 298 candidates from all 7 emirates competed for the 20 seats of Federal National Council. The election results were consolidated and announced within 8 minutes of the polls closing.
Overall, a 50% increase in the number of voters participating was noted compared to turnout in the previous 2019 election. Additionally, the number of voters from outside the country increased nearly 175% compared to 2019.
This election marks the fourth time that the UAE and the MFNCA have entrusted Scytl with supporting their elections to the Federal National Council. Having delivered in-person electronic voting previously in 2011, 2015, and 2019.
Online voting is by far the voter’s preferred option
The online voting channel, which was introduced for the first time in this election, was well-received by voters, with a majority (92%) choosing to cast their ballots remotely. 18% through the web portal and 74% through the Mobile App available for Apple and Android. UAE citizens declared that “Online Voting improves productivity, saves time and reduces carbon emissions. Emiratis are empowered like never before”, they added.
On the election, Scytl CEO Raoul Roverato highlighted that “the success confirms the positive impacts of implementing online voting. With the heightened convenience, security and flexibility for all voters, as well as the greater accessibility for overseas voters and people with disabilities, the MFNCA ensured increased participation and turnout.”
Majed Al Mesmar, Director General of the Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority (TDRA) declared: “we have a unique relationship, we improve cycle by cycle since 2011 and we will continue innovate and offer our citizens the greatest experience. When it comes to the future, I can assure you that we will be ready for it with our Partner Scytl.”
About Scytl Election Technologies
Scytl is leading digital transformation in elections around the world. Its cutting-edge technology, implemented with precision and under the highest security standards, has allowed more than 30 countries to rely on the knowledge and experience of the firm, protected by more than 50 international patents. Scytl is part of Grenadier Holdings (formerly Paragon Group).
About The Federal National Council
The Federal National Council (FNC) is the consultative council, the parliamentary body of the UAE. It has 40 members. The National Election Committee (NEC) is in charge of planning and supervising the election process. It was formed in 2006 by a resolution made by the late H. H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and issues the regulatory rules and determine the date of the elections. Members can vote from both inside and outside the UAE. For information about FNC elections 2023, visit the website of the National Elections Committee.