Sharjah: Huge numbers headed to the polls for the second day of Sharjah Consultative Council (SCC) elections on Thursday.
Voters cast their ballots at polling stations equipped with 18 electronic voting systems, nine for men and nine for women in addition to 12 screens informing people about the process.
In total 44,758 citizens have registered for the elections and from 189 contestants 25 will be selected to form a new council on December 11. Elections are held every four years and this is the sixth election since the council formed in 1999.
His Highness Shaikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, visited a polling station at the Sharjah Chess Club to check on the process.
Dr. Mansour bin Nassar, Chairman of the Higher Committee for the SCC elections, said adverse weather conditions didn’t affect the turnout as citizens fulfilled their duty and answered Shaikh Sultan’s call.
Thabit Al Turaifi, director of the polling station at Sharjah Chess club, told Gulf News that in each shift, a total of 48 volunteers are working to guide and assist voters, in addition to 35 policemen in each shift.
He said the entire process of voting took only a few minutes from entering the polling station to casting their vote.
Golf vehicles in addition to wheelchairs are also provided at the centre to transport voters.
Voters have the option to either vote online or manually using papers. Ballot boxes for the manual voters are then transported to Al Qassimyah University for counting in a room monitored by CCTV.
Volunteers provided help to people of determination. There is also a special team to deal with any technical issues that may arise.
To register voters simply submit their ID, but they can also apply for a form manually even without ID if they submit proof that they have lost their documents.
Rashid Harb, 25, said it wasn’t his first time to vote, adding that it was a national duty to do so. He said the process was smooth and easy and only took five minutes.
“We are with our leadership and follow their path,” he said.
Voters arrived early before the polls began at 8am.
Another voter Khalid Al Zarouni, 46, said: “Today is a national duty and great historical moment, all should participate in this democratic process which reflects its democratic policies and efforts of involving residents in the decision making.”
Government entities sent their employees in groups to cast their vote and other establishments also allowed their employees to leave work early in order to head to the polls.
The nine polling stations will remain open for four days from Wednesday until Saturday for 12 hours from 8am to 8pm.
At 9pm each day boxes will be sealed and transported to Al Qassimyah University.
Polling stations across Sharjah:
Sharjah City: Sharjah Cultural and Chess Club; Hamriyah: Hamriyah Municipality; Khorfakkan: Expo Centre Khorfakkan; Kalba: University of Sharjah – Kalba campus; Dibba Al Hisn: Dibba Al Hisn Municipal Council; Al Dhaid: University of Sharjah – Al Dhaid campus; Al Bataeh: Al Bataeh Municipality; Mleiha: Mleiha Cultural Club, and Al Madam: Al Madam Municipality.