e-Democracy in UAE

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
Unlike many other parts of the world, the Middle East and North Africa Region has limited experience with public participation in policymaking. Political stability, along side wider cultural and socio-economic conditions, varies greatly throughout the region – presenting each country with its own set of unique challenges in terms of fostering enhanced citizen participation. In the UAE, for example, wealth and wide spread government benevolence has helped to foster an overall sense of well being throughout this young country. The UAE enjoys relative political stability, and is ranked among the top in the World Happiness Index. Rulers take strong care of the country’s 1+ million citizens, and there is an apparent equitable distribution of wealth. As a consequence, political apathy is high. There is practically no civic tradition of participation in government, and political parties do not exist. The UAE Government, however, recognises that the status quo is not in the long-term interests of their country. As the population grows, oil revenues stabilise and popular movements increase throughout the region and around the world, it is important that all Emiratis, particularly more socially excluded groups like the poor, illiterate and less abled, be included and have a greater voice in the running of the government. The challenge for the Government is to pave the way for democratic participation whilst avoiding the type of massive social unrest that other Gulf States have recently witnessed. In other words, the challenge is to create a successful model of democratic nation building in a Region that is virtually lacking in democratic traditions. It is within this context that the leadership of the UAE took the bold and conscious decision to embark upon a far-sighted initiative to establish democratic governance structures and foster enhanced public participation in decision-making. Traditional rule in the UAE was by a Shura Council – which is a group of ‘wise men’ who advise the Rulers on various aspects of Governance, Economics and Religion – in conjunction with a Federal National Council (FNC) – the countries legislative and constitutional body that includes representatives from every Emirate. The UAE leadership knew that to change the governance mechanisms to a more democratic methodology would require a culturally sensitive approach that garnered the support and buy-in of all stakeholders - from rulers of the 7 federated Emirates to government departments and citizens themselves. Embracing this challenge as an opportunity, the leadership took the decision in 2006 to introduce elections for citizens to sit on the FNC as the first step in a wider effort to embed democratic participation into a way of life for all Emirates. The government knew that the ultimate success of this long-term effort would depend upon the extent to which the Emirati population had a strong sense of confidence and pride in the new democratic system. Thus rather than replicate an often discredited paper-based system, it decided to use the country’s ground breaking National ID Card as the cornerstone of an innovative new eVoting system that was tailor made to instil transparency and trust.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
The introduction of elections was part of a wider UAE National Programme to foster enhanced political participation in the national policymaking process. In unveiling the initiative, the President announced: “We shall work to make the Council (FNC) more capable, more effective and more sensitive to the issues affecting the nation and the people by ensuring a more participatory process and the entrenchment of Shura (consultations) policy.” Under pillar 3 of the Emirates ID Authority’s 2010-2013 Strategic Plan: Make the ID Card the Most Important Card in the UAE, the Government further mandated the use of the National identity management infrastructure and National ID Card as the primary electoral identification document in order to ensure a trusted and secure foundation for the pioneering transition to democracy. The transition itself was strategically divided into 3 stages: first, conduct elections to elect half the FNC members through an Electoral College (2006); second expand FNC powers to create a more enabled body (2011 & 2016); and finally set an entirely new precedent in the Gulf by introducing universal suffrage (2019)! The UAE is well on its way through this process. In 2006, the government created a small but representative electoral college to introduce the population to the concept of eVoting. A basic system was deployed and the election ran without a hitch. In 2011, the government dramatically expanded the electoral college by nearly 2,200% and used an enhanced eVoting system to deliver a landmark ‘vote anywhere’ election that has kept the UAE fully on course to achieve its ultimate objective of creating the Gulf’s first fully franchised country. Based on the accuracy of the National Population Register, a multi-fold expansion of the Electoral College is being worked on for the 2016 elections to put the UAE on a firm path toward the 2019 target of universal suffrage. Key steps in the 2011 solution included: PRE-ELECTION PERIOD OBJECTIVES: (1) Deliver Representative & Accurate Electoral College: An expanded electoral roll was comprised of citizens from across the 7 Emirates. The National Population Register served as the accurate population repository for generating the Electoral College. The National ID Card was used to verify voter eligibility real-time and avoid duplicate voting. (2) Create Culture of Participation: A massive awareness campaign was implemented across the 7 Emirates, including an extensive use of TV and radio skits and ads, posters, voter and candidate training (including on election day) and use of Nationals outside the Electoral College for election duties. ELECTION DAY OBJECTIVES: 
 (3) Deliver Accessible Voting: Easy-to-use touchscreen voting machines deployed in centres across the UAE. Voters able to vote in any polling station in the Emirates thanks to the use of the real-time National ID database. (4) Instill Trust: Voters validated against the electoral roll at ID verification desks using their ID card. A secure flag was recorded on the ID card to indicate that a voter was allowed to vote. A digital certificate was used at the voting machine to authenticate the voter, secure the session and encrypt the vote. Card was flagged after vote cast to prevent access to voting system again. (5) Increase Transparency & Audibility: Voting Machine generated a paper print out of the-vote to provide a paper trail of the electronic vote count. Voters asked to verify the paper vote, and instructed to insert the copy in a glass ballot box. POST ELECTION OBJECTIVES: (6) Deliver Fast & Accurate Counts: Votes electronically collected from multiple centres, mixed and tallied. Results published within minutes thanks to eVoting.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
Introducing electoral representation in a Region marked by Absolute Monarchies - as part of a wider process to create a culture of public participation from scratch - is massively innovative in itself. Use of STATE-OF-THE-ART technologies to maximize voter choice, increase accessibility and deliver trusted and secure results takes this innovation to a new level. Never before in the world, let alone the Gulf, has an election been delivered utilizing a National ID Infrastructure to ensure real-time voter/vote verifiability. In other countries, voter registration still occurs as a separate process making it open to fraud and vote snatching. In the UAE, the identity of the voter is irrefutable as the National ID Card is the de-facto instrument that allows people to cast their vote. Unique biometric authentication using the secure Match on Card feature ensures that the card holder’s voting eligibility is accurately determined on site. Flagging of the card prevents multiple voting. Integration of the Card with a customized eVoting application gives voters the opportunity to vote at the polling station of their choice, and enables the fast, efficient and secure tallying of votes. Use of paper receipts to verify ballots further enhances confidence in the election system.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
Implementation of the 2011 election was premised on the 3rd pillar of the Emirates ID Strategy (2010-2013): To facilitate delivery of innovative e- services by establishing the ID card as the most valued card in the UAE. (A) REGISTRATION OF THE POPULATION: 2010 In 2010 the ID Authority ramped up its emphasis on developing an accurate and comprehensive population register to provide the basis for delivering secure and trusted government services, including e-voting. This period focused on increasing the number of registered people and issuing them with ID Cards by making the registration process simpler for all citizens through the new efficient registration centers and online e-Form applications. (B) PLANNING THE ELECTION: MARCH 2011 Timescales to deliver a secure and trusted election were short. In 2011 the ID Authority had just 6 months to create and implement a secure and trusted eVoting solution. Unlike other ICT projects, the dates of elections are legally absolute with no room for change, so it was important that detailed delivery plans documented exactly what needed to be done, when and by whom. (C) DEVELOPMENT OF ID PROCESSES : APRIL 2011 Developing an effective eVoting process centred on the ID Authority’s commitment to use innovative IT tools to radically design services around citizens needs – with the National ID Card as the primary method of authentication. The aim was not only to use the ID Card to deliver innovative e-government services, but also to engender strong public trust in the democratic process. Business processes for using the ID Card for authentication and verification were articulated from multiple stakeholder workshops. Technical work focused on understanding the infrastructure needed to set up an election, use of scientific calculations to determine how many polling stations would be needed, and creating accurate specifications for the seamless integration of the ID card with eVoting hardware and software. (D) DEVELOPMENT OF VOTERS LIST APPLICATION: APRIL 2011 The creation of an accurate electoral roll that could be updated in real-time by any polling station formed the basis of a trusted and secure election. The Electoral Roll was generated from the existing and current National Population Register applying legally defined eligibility criteria. Balancing the need for data accuracy and integrity with the accessibility and usability needs of voters, the Team created integrated applications that could verify each voter with their National ID card in 30 seconds or less. Thanks to the innovative nature of the UAE ID programme, each Polling Station could process 750 votes an hour, or 9,000 voters each per electronic voting kiosk across a 12 hour voting period. (E) IMPLEMENTATION: JULY 2011 The ID Authority ensured that authentication and verification applications for the ID Cards, including hardware and software, was ready by the end of July in order to allow a full month to prepare polling centres and training the supervisors who would up-skill voters on how to cast their ballot. The provision of supervised eVoting in polling stations was an important step to empower citizens who would normally shy away from using new technologies to overcome ICT fears and increase their skills. Voting took place on the 24th September 2011. (F) FUTURE PLANNING: 2014 - 2019 After the election and buoyed by the success, Parliamentary Affairs Minister HE Anwar Gargash announced that the Electoral College would be exponentially increased again for the 2016 election in anticipation of the introduction of universal suffrage in 2019. The ID Authority launched its 2014-2019 strategy to help fulfil these ambitions. The eVoting system has now been redeployed as the Internet Voting System enabling citizens to vote securely from the comfort of their homes!

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
The 2011 election represented a landmark step in the UAE’s determination to foster a culture of public participation in national decision-making. Key stakeholders are: VOTERS/CANDIDATES: The 2011 elections had an over 20x expanded electoral college made up of 46% females and 54% males, of which 35% were younger than 30 years. These stakeholders would be directly impacted by the election process and outcome. They needed knowledge of the voting process, the election schedule, candidate selection process, campaign rules and how to participate on election day. Voter/Candidate needs were identified and met by: NATIONAL ELECTIONS COMMITTEE (NEC): The NEC headed by Program Manager Tariq Lootah (Under Secretary of the Ministry of Federal National Council Affairs) was responsible for the overall election framework including: supervising the election, supporting electoral awareness efforts, locating Polling Centres, establishing the legal framework, and setting dates. Two key stakeholders supported the NEC: - EIDA: Emirates ID Authority was responsible for technical programme management under the leadership of the Director General Dr Ali Al-Khouri - who personally ensured the delivery of a reliable and secure eVoting infrastructure using the National ID Card as its premise. EIDA’s CIO delivered the effective use of toolkit and identification applications for eVoting. Other key stakeholder roles included (a) ID Card Integration Coordinator to provide input on ID card integration with the voting system, (b) Application Data Integration Coordinator to provide data from the EIDA system, and (c) Network and Set-up to oversee the WAN required to implement the ‘vote in any polling station’ solution. - TECHNICAL COMMITTEE: Responsible for software customisation and UAT of the eVoting solution. The whole system was designed as per technical specifications setup to meet the business requirements and election processes prescribed by the NEC.
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
Like public elections the world over, the e-Voting project was funded from a government budget. The key resources involved are: HUMAN: The key personnel for delivering the foundations for the election were chiefly deployed from the Emirate ID Authority’s 750+ pool of resources to work on the National ID Infrastructure. Core staff members were supported by staff from eVoting solution providers. Technical experts built applications to create accurate electoral rolls from the population register, devised methods to wire and network polling stations, and customised software to enable voters/votes to be authenticated and validated using the National ID Card. Additionally, marketing experts were used to raise awareness about the elections and the wider importance of participation in the decision-making process. Additional operational roles created solely for polling day were: 374 Polling Station Workers to complete validation of the voter by ID authentication using the National ID Card. 107 Trainers to demonstrate the eVoting process to voters on election day. 13 Voting Centre Managers responsible for all operations in their polling centres. 41 Voting Centre Assistants who supported the Centre Managers. 21 Electoral Board members – one board per Emirate – responsible for publishing elections and initiating counting and tallying. To strengthen the creation of a culture of participation throughout the UAE as a whole, Polling Station Workers were all UAE Nationals drawn from a representative range of organizations across society. Workers were trained rigorously in the ID verification process. Alongside physical schooling, training videos were prepared so polling officers could access continuous learning on the process of ID Verification. Voting Centre Assistants were sourced from an organization called Takatof UAE to further ensure maximum participation of UAE society as a whole in the election process. Emirates ID Authority contributed 500 of their employees to provide the ID Verification Services at all the polling stations. Election Day was a proud moment for all the participants! TECHNICAL: Technical resources included, but were not limited to, the procurement of: 800 touch screen terminals for voting purposes equipped with Smart Combi-ID card readers with biometric sensors for authentication. 400 laptops to be used for ID verification, training and operation also combined with the card readers and biometric sensors. 700 printers for generating receipts at voting terminals. 451 power supplies. 54 servers to allow central voting at each Emirate conjoined with a central server set up in the National Capital- Abu Dhabi. This set-up allowed votes to be collected online in real time at the Central Operations Center in Abu Dhabi. FINANCIAL: The overall cost of delivering the election, outside of the National ID Infrastructure budget was 30 Million AED (8 Million USD). The hardware itself amounted to a relatively small amount at a total of 18 Million AED (5 Million USD) including the server network. The cost of personnel is estimated at 10 Million AED (3 Million USD).

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
1. ENHANCED DEMOCRATIC CAPABILITIES Prior to 2011, the majority of UAE Nationals had never heard of eVoting let alone seen a ballot box. Dedicated awareness raising and training initiatives via advertisements, public meetings, workshops, and local conferences helped to generate nation-wide understanding about the value of participating in national decision-making, national pride in the UAE’s commitment to democratic engagement and increased support for expanded enfranchisement. Extensive use of social media showcased participation in action by featuring real-time interactive dialogue between the NEC, local communities and individuals. 2. FOUNDATION FOR UNIVERSAL SUFFRAGE After the success of the 2011 election, the UAE President told the FNC: “Your membership in this Council places great trust and responsibility on your shoulders. Governance here belongs to those who have bestowed their trust on you (the electors). Do be mindful to maintain your eligibility to receive this trust and be committed to the interests of the country and its citizens.” Success in 2011 prompted the Minister for Legislative Affairs to declare a historic commitment to introduce universal suffrage for UAE Nationals above the age of 21 in 2019. DELIVERY OF A TRUSTED & SCALABLE e-VOTING INFRASTRUCTURE From a technical standpoint, a major achievement was the use of advanced cryptographic protocols enabling election processes to be carried out in a completely secure, transparent and auditable manner. The solution delivered high levels of security in terms of voter privacy, ballot box integrity, and voter-verifiability. Use of the ID card provided a strong model for legally binding authentication and verification that drove efficiencies and helped to transform conventional public sector service delivery. 4. CREATION OF ORGANISATIONAL DELIVERY FRAMEWORK On an organisational level, the electoral management structure played a key role in getting many government departments to work together seamlessly and cooperatively. The structure included more than 100 officials representing different government and public sector organisations, in addition to 900+ volunteer staff to support voting centres. This management structure will form the basis of a dramatically expanded election in 2016, and the ultimate introduction of universal franchise in 2019. 5. INTERNATIONAL KNOWLEDGE SHARING Government delegations from a range of countries – from as nearby as Lebanon to as far away as Kurdistan - have approached the UAE to share expertise about use of the new voting system. The UNDP representative in the UAE has approached Emirates ID to help other countries with their own ID Management and Governance processes.

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
There was no scope for failure in the FNC 2011 election. A successful result was crucial to the continued expansion of democratic participation in the UAE. To manage the strict security and privacy requirements of the eVoting solution, and to comply with specific constitutional, legal and regulatory contexts related to the electoral rules in the UAE, the following steps were taken: (1) The NEC applied an agile methodology for the design, development, deployment and implementation of the eVoting system. Structured workshops with key stakeholders and commercial suppliers’ staff were undertaken before system implementation to allow for government concerns and requirements to be addressed. (2) On polling day, Operations Centres in each Emirate had a dashboard that constantly monitored the IT systems to ensure that all the network connections were working as per the bandwidth requirement. (3) An Electoral Chief Officer was appointed for each voting centre who was responsible for the polling station operation. The Chief Officer would monitor all transactions and activities taking place on polling day. In addition technical staff were deployed at every polling station to attend to any issue. (3) An Electoral Board (EB) and Administration Board were established for each Emirate. The polling stations were monitored for participation on every hour. The results of the voting process were announced and published by the Electoral Chief officer of each Emirate. (4) Finally, Heads of State and other international election experts were invited to oversee the process. Linda Maguire, a senior policy adviser with the UN Development Programme's democratic governance group in New York, offered the following praise on the increased electoral roll. "The UN makes it a habit not to comment on any state's electoral process," she said, "but certainly the more democratic and inclusive a system is, the better it will reflect the will of the people and adhere to the human rights norms and standards of the UN. Enlarging the electoral college means that more people - and potentially more diverse interests - are in power and can influence policies." Alejandro Salas, a Berlin-based regional director of Transparency International, a global group whose tasks include monitoring elections, said the expansion of the electoral college marked a move from "almost nothing to something significant. It will help in building culture in citizens not aware of the importance of elections. It will have a positive effect in the country."

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
Delivering advanced eVoting processes in a country that is unfamiliar with elections and has limited experience with political participation created many challenges. Technical obstacles were tackled fairly easily due to the cutting-edge ID authentication and verification system that underpinned the software solution. Human obstacles, however, were more difficult to overcome: STAFF READINESS TO DELIVER AN ELECTION Working on an election was a new experience for practically all members of staff from government officials to volunteer polling station workers. Readiness was achieved through 2 key strategies: (1) Training - A comprehensive training plan was implemented to cover all polling day activities. All staff were trained in e-voting to a level that enabled them to provide comprehensive on-site voter education themselves. (2) Dry Run - The eVoting system was piloted 2 weeks prior to election day to not only test the complete solution but to also train staff so they were familiarised with the voting system. More than 600 volunteer staff from the Emirates ID Authority participated in the testing of the system in a mock-election at an actual voting site in Dubai. PUBLIC AWARENESS In the run-up to the elections, surveys showed that 41% of Emiratis were ‘very interested’ in the polls. However due to the newness of elections in the UAE, voters and candidates were unfamiliar with the election process itself. This obstacle was combated by: (1) Candidates – Government held a series of open seminars for candidates to teach them the rules about campaigning including financial limits of campaigns and fair messaging. (2) Voters – A branded awarenss campaign consisting of public events, information flyers and social media outreach helped to promote the forthcoming elections in a manner that ensured that 80% of Emiratis surveyed were aware of the FNC elections. 14% said they followed the election news every day.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
1. ENHANCED PARTICIPATION The 2011 election was part of a wider effort to foster an overarching culture of participation in order to help the UAE keep pace with changing realities such as an increasingly young, educated and enthusiastic population, a dramatic expansion in the role of women, diminishing natural resources and the democratic challenges encountered by other countries in the region. As the world around the UAE evolves, the country has taken an invaluable step toward introducing democratic participation in a stable and consistent manner, rather than risk being over-run by events. Saeed al-Otibi, a Dubai voter, summed up progress in this regard when he told newspaper: “We cannot say it will change 100 percent, but for the future, it's a nice step. I think it will help the people here to change a lot of things.” An impact measurement survey of Emirati nationals in 2011 showed that only 21% of people believed that the election would have no impact on their life – a remarkable figure for a country that has just begun to introduce democracy. 2. FEMALE EMPOWERMENT The unprecedented inclusion of a women’s right to vote, along with other national programmes, provided a huge boost to gender equality in government, measured by the fact that governmental employment of Emirati women rose from 22% prior to the first election in 2005 to 66% after the election in 2007. In 2011 women made up nearly 20% of those running for the Federal National Council. 17 year old Amani Al Beloushi recently told a local newspaper “To play a direct role in the decision making process of the country, we should educate ourselves about elections.” Amani is a member of the Advisory Council of Sharjah Youth. She believes that for her generation the government has always encouraged women to take up a wide range of careers and positions with private and public sector. "This (electoral) experience could be very important to develop and shape my political career which I dream to take up in the future." Amani is just one of a number of young female Emiratis keen to help shape the future direction of her country. Whilst women have been increasingly taking up roles in business, public service and education, the idea that females could be key political players was almost unheard of until the 2011 election. Thanks to the on-going Federal Government commitment to foster political participation, it is becoming an exciting time in the UAE to be young, female and interested in politics. 3. IMPROVED PUBLIC SERVICE DELIVERY The 2011 electoral project helped to establish the Emirates ID as the primary authenticator in the UAE, providing a foundation for future public service delivery. The election helped to spur a 25% increase in on-time ID Card renewals by UAE Nationals as they saw the ability to vote and influence policy a direct benefit of being included in the centralised ID database. The election also drove interest in ID cards from non-eligible voters: 2011 saw 2.4 out of 5.2 million expats - or 26% - register, whereas just 7% had registered the year before. Registration growth continued into 2012 so much so that the number of people registered during this year equalled the total number of those registered during the previous 8 years. 4. INCREASED INTERNATIONAL STANDING The 2011 election helped to significantly enhance the UAE’s global standing in terms of both eGovernment and ePartication. Between 2010 and 2012, the UAE advanced an impressive 21 positions from 49th to 28th in overall UN eGovernment Rankings, coming 6th in eParticipation and 5th overall in Asia. The staged introduction of democracy - supported by rigorous Authentication and Voting Procedures - has attracted interest and praise from governments around the world, with Finnish Minister H.E. Krestya Keoro describing the UAE’s ID system as “among the best in the world.” In recognition of the successful implementation of the National ID Infrastructure, the Emirates ID Authority finds itself today as a Special Advisor to the STORK 2.0 initiative in Europe. The Emirates ID Authority under Dr Ali Al Khouri is the Special Advisor to the SecureID Alliance for sharing knowledge and advising on e-ID.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
From the beginning, the approach of the UAE was to expand political participation and develop a culture of democratic reform in a structured and sustainable manner that avoided the divisive experiences of other countries in the region: (a) FINANCIAL Thinking big but starting small meant that the cost of the delivering the infrastructure could be spread over a extended period in a manner that avoided the type of financial wastage often associated with untested ICT implementations. Use of a centralised population database and verification solution supported the expansion of a shared National ID infrastructure that is currently delivering cost savings to other government departments across the UAE. (b) SOCIAL, ECONOMIC & CULTURAL: A key driver for introducing elections was the enhancement of social and economic sustainability within the UAE by helping to create a culture of participation and giving Emiratis a say in the policy direction of their country. Delivering cultural sustainability focused on engendering confidence in the value of political participation and building trust amongst all stakeholders in the electoral process. Using a staged implementation approach, the UAE shifted from the introduction of a basic eVoting solution in 2006 to a new and more advanced Internet Voting System (IVS) in 2011 that enables voters to vote from home and will serve as the basis for expanded elections in 2016. In further support of sustainability, IVS is currently being rolled out to different organisations on a Voting-as-a-Service basis to provide the robust testing required to deliver remote voting from home. The roll out will lay a strong foundation for the introduction of universal suffrage in 2019 by bringing the democratic process and voter authentication (via the National ID Card) to the door step of major organizations across the UAE from the Chambers of Commerce, to Student Councils, and Sports Committees. The ID Validation, Verification and Authentication system is being upgraded to enable Mobile Voting – an innovation that will further enhance awareness amongst Emiratis about the new opportunities to participate in the decision-making process. (d) ENVIRONMENTAL: Contribution to environmental sustainability included the incorporation of better practice into core business plans and processes. The use of electronic ID applications to verify and authenticate voters using e-voting machines removed the need for environmentally unfriendly large paper ballots, and provided a showcase for how other government departments could use the ID infrastructure to deliver environmentally beneficial efficiencies. (e) INSTITUTIONAL: The approach to election delivery formed a key model for organisational delivery across government by providing best practice on how to manage cooperation between federal departments. The EIDA election team won a distinguished Federal Authority Award for their work. (f) REGULATORY: The project resulted in the introduction of the NEC and a framework of regulations that will govern and manage elections for years to come.

 12. Were special measures put in place to ensure that the initiative benefits women and girls and improves the situation of the poorest and most vulnerable? (If applicable)
The 2011 election provided a number of invaluable lessons for the further expansion of the Electoral College in 2016 and the ultimate introduction of universal suffrage in 2019: DO NOT UNDER ESTIMATE VOTER PRIDE (a) Voters were happy to receive a print out of their vote – so much so that many wanted to keep the receipt as proof of voting rather than place it in the transparent ballot boxes. In the future, the UAE will work to enhance the trust and transparency of the voting process by either enabling either the printing of two receipts in order to allow the voter to keep a copy, or enabling kiosk machines with an application that allows voters to check whether their votes were counted by inserting their national identity card. DO NOT OVER ESTIMATE THE IMPORTANCE OF HANDS-ON ASSISTANCE (b) A few voters by-passed the voter identification stage at the polling station and went straight to the voting terminals only to find that the system did not allow them to cast their votes. This situation ultimately proved that the system did not allow unverified people to vote but it also created confusion among the voters. Stricter polling station controls will be enforced in 2016 and 2019 so voters are greeted at the entrance of the polling station and guided in the right direction. ALWAYS PLAN FOR UNEXPECTED CONTINGENCIES (c) Some voters had problems with their ID Cards. When this issue occurred, a White Card was issued to verified voters whose ID was proven but for technical reasons the card could not be tagged as verified or biometrics could not be verified. The polling officer physically verified the ID Card in presence of the Voting Centre Manager before issuing the White Card. The solution ensured that the authentic voter was not denied the right to vote. A good practice to continue for the future. SUCCESS FOSTERS FURTHER SUCCESS (d) The success of 2011 election has instilled confidence throughout the UAE that the country has all the prerequisite technical elements in place to become the first in the Gulf Region to give every National the ability and right to vote: (1) A proven National ID Card that carries digital certificates from the Population PKI to enable identification, validation, authentication, digital signing and encryption. (2) Intuitive touch screen e-voting kiosks that can be used by the young and tech-savvy and old and illiterate alike. (3) Demonstrated nation-wide interconnectivity and bandwidth to enable nation-wide voting. (5) Robust eVoting practices and processes to enable secure and reliable voting both within polling stations and remotely. (6) An experienced legal system for use of the national ID cards as the primary token for electoral identification. (7) And, last but not least, a population that is increasingly aware of the values, benefits and practice of participation in national decision making.

Contact Information

Institution Type:   Government Agency  
Contact Person:   Shajahan Madampatty
Title:   Mr  
Telephone/ Fax:   97124957781
Institution's / Project's Website:  
E-mail:   shajahan.madampatt@emiratesid.ae  
Address:   Mazayad Office Towers III
Postal Code:   47999
City:   Abu Dhabi
State/Province:   Abu Dhabi

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