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Oman holds first remote elections with biometric IDs from Tech5 and uqudo

Oman holds first remote elections with biometric IDs from Tech5 and uqudo

Voters across the Sultanate of Oman electronically cast their votes on Sunday, choosing representatives to the lower house of the Omani Parliament using a biometric-based digital ID platform developed by Tech5 and its partner uqudo.

A total of 753,690 voters chose between 843 candidates for the Consultative Council, known as the Shura, using an electronic voting system through the Antakhib mobile application. For the first time, voters residing outside the Sultanate of Oman were allowed to participate in the elections remotely, with over 13,800 Omanis casting their votes.

The Antakhib application was well received, with 91 percent of new voters registering through the app compared with 9 percent registering through the election website, according to the Omani Ministry of Interior.

“The Antikhab application also provides numerical statistics showing the percentage of voting in each wilayat and other e-services,” the ministry’s spokesperson Sumaiya Albalushi told Tanzania Standard Newspapers’s Daily News.

Voters could use the electronic voting system by scanning their biometric identity cards using their smartphones and allowing the NFC chip on the ID to be read by the application. The entire process took less than one minute while voters’ choices were not linked to their identity, Tech5 says in a release.

The entire electoral process was organized in less than a week, compared to the three to four months required in the past, while voters did not need to travel to a polling station. The biometric-based digital identity platform also eliminated the chances of voter fraud, the company said.

“Oman’s digital elections are a historic moment for the country, and with uqudo and Tech5’s collaborative efforts, we are confident that the entire electoral process is fair and accurate, in line with Oman’s vision of enhanced digital acceleration,” says Mohamed Fagiri, founder and CEO of uqudo.

Switzerland-based Tech5 and UK-based uqudo first developed the voter identity verification system for Oman’s 2022 Municipal Council elections. In February this year, the companies launched a collaboration aimed at creating new products tailored to the Middle East and Africa, when Tech5 made an investment in uqudo.

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