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Fully digital election with biometric remote voting planned for United Arab Emirates

Fully digital election with biometric remote voting planned for United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates is introducing remote online voting with its Federal National Council elections scheduled for October 7, 2023. According to a release from the Spain-based online voting provider Scytl, who was contracted as a biometric software provider for the fully digital election, Emirati voters can cast their ballots from any device with an internet connection, including outside the country.

Scytl’s platform will use face biometrics to authenticate voters and will be a secure, private, method of voting, says the release.

The system will also include in-person internet voting at 24 polling stations in the seven emirates. It will use electronic voting kiosks, which have been used in the country’s elections since 2006.

Scytl has provided election software for the last three UAE election cycles: 2019, 2015, and 2011. In 2019, it was implemented in over 1,000 voting kiosks at 39 polling stations across the UAE. Results were announced 13 minutes after polls closed.

“Although for Scytl it has always been an exciting project, this year it is even more so because of the milestone it represents in the history of governmental elections: the first fully digital process,” says Raoul Roverato, CEO of Scytl. “We are proud to help this country become the first to hold an all-digital election with our technology, and also to set a precedent for other countries to modernize and follow in the UAE’s lead.”

In 2021, New South Wales decommissioned their Scytl-powered iVote voting system, which experienced glitches that prevented an unknown number of people from voting on the system in an election that year.

Neighboring Oman used biometric remote voting for municipal elections last year with technology from Tech5 and uqudo, and Voatz has backed more than 100 elections with biometrics for remote voting, though it was available only to certain voters in many of those elections.

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