Besides electronic voting, the designated voting centres throughout Sharjah also witnessed enthusiastic response from the citizenry. Image Credit: Supplied

Sharjah: Voting for the Sharjah Consultative Council elections got off to a spirited start today, Tuesday, both online at the dedicated website and in-person, at nine polling centres spread across the emirate.

Day one of the polling saw remarkable response by voters and proceeded off smoothly with world-class facilities in accordance with the global best practices of transparency and accuracy having been set in place as directed by His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah.

Some 51,637 male and female voters representing the nine electoral districts in Sharjah began voting early on Tuesday to choose 25 candidates, representing half of the seats of the Sharjah Consultative Council, from a list of 193 candidates from various cities and regions of the emirate.

Hybrid voting options

The hybrid voting options -- electronic and in-person – has made the task of Sharjah’s voters much easier, speeding up their response to the call of duty. They can exercise their ballot within minutes by using their digital identity of “UAE PASS.” Once their identity is approved, the system allows them to choose their choice of candidate, within the list of names of candidates according to the electoral district they belong. The voters successfully conclude the process by confirming the choice of their candidate.

As soon as the voting began at 8am, the dedicated election website began witnessing significant traffic of voters or citizens of Sharjah registered with the relevant electoral districts. The polling will continue for three days until 8pm on Thursday, December 7.

Physical voting

Besides electronic voting, the designated voting centres throughout the emirate also witnessed enthusiastic response from the citizenry with voters, both individuals and families, arriving in droves to vote in person. Sharjah’s citizens have the flexibility to cast their votes using their ID cards over a period of three days for 12 hours a day from 8am to 8pm.

Ahmed Saeed Al Jarwan, member of the Supreme Committee for the SCC Elections and Chairman of the Election Management Committee said, “The electronic and in-person voting options contributed to significantly enhancing electoral participation of citizens and increasing the voter turnout right from the opening hours.

“This reflects the awareness of the people of the Emirate of Sharjah about the importance of participating in developing the future of the emirate and becoming part of decision-making in accordance with the vision and directives of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah.”

Historic elections

Al Jarwan stressed that the historic electoral experience in Sharjah has demonstrated its worth and unique distinction. “Although this is only the third election, the other two being held in 2015 and 2019, that the emirate is conducting, it has contributed to consolidating the electoral culture and enhancing the outcomes of the Sharjah Consultative Council, keeping pace with the rapid growth of the Emirate and supporting its directions in enhancing the quality of life for its people.”

He stressed that the Election Management Committee has been sparing no effort to ensure that the elections for the SCC meet the highest standards of excellence and transparency.

Obaid Saeed Al Tunaiji, Chairman of the Sharjah City Electoral District Committee and Director General of the Sharjah City Municipality, said the city has witnessed remarkable voter response on the first day of voting. He lauded the keenness of the Emirate’s citizens to respond to the directives of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah to wholeheartedly participate in the SCC elections.

He ponted out that the Sharjah City Municipality has a specialised team of professionals and facilities in place to ensure smooth SCC elections, calling on all citizens to make use of this opportunity to choose their representatives to sit in the august Consultative Council forum.

The city of Sharjah has been allocated 9 electoral seats, for which 93 candidates are in the fray. A total of 193 candidates from various cities and regions of the Emirate of Sharjah are taking part in the polls.

HE Mubarak Rashed Al Shamsi, Chairman of the Electoral District Committee in the Al Hamriya region ,Director of Al Hamriya Municipality, also lauded the citizens response to the SCC polls who have an opportunity to choose who represents them and their aspirations in order to achieve the development visions of Sharjah.

Al Shamsi stated that the electoral process in the Hamriya region is taking place smoothly and easily due to the keenness of the Supreme Committee for the SCC Elections to organise the elections according to highest standards of accuracy and transparency.

It is noteworthy that the Sharjah Consultative Council, which was established in 1999, witnessed a dramatic shift in 2015 when it was decided by the Sharjah leadership to allocate half of the Council seats for direct elections.

The council contributes to directing the emirate’s policies towards a sustainable and prosperous future, and its interactive parliamentary role reflects the aspirations of society and citizens’ participation in decision-making. The website is dedicated to SCC elections. The approved voting centres in the emirate will continue to receive voters until December 7, 2023.