Sharjah: The last day of voting for the Sharjah Consultative Council (SSC) elections saw strong voter turnout at the Sharjah Culture and Chess Club polling station as Emiratis arrived in big numbers to exercise their franchise.

Voters cast their ballots at the stations which were equipped with 18 electronic voting systems, nine for men and nine for women, in addition to 12 screens informing people about the process.

As the day progressed, Thabit Al Turaifi, Head of the Election Committee at the club polling station, told Gulf News

a total of 48 volunteers were assisting voters, in addition to 35 policemen in each shift.

He said the entire process of voting took only a few minutes for each voter..

In total, 44,758 citizens 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 was formed in 1999.

Voters had the option to either vote online or manually using papers. Ballot boxes for the manual voters were later transported to Al Qassimyah University for counting in a room monitored by CCTV.

Voters were welcomed with flowers as they arrived at the polling centres. The elderly were escorted from the main gate with people of determination also receiving assistance.

Despite their age and the challenge of getting around, many elderly Emiratis accompanied by their children made it a point to cast their votes.

Ali Abdullah Al Beloushi, 88, arrived at the centre early in the morning to vote for the second time in his life. “Today is Sharjah’s historical moment, a great day, and I insisted on being a part of this democratic event,” he said.

Also among the early voters was Brigadier Arif Bin Hudaib , Director of Media and Public Relation Department at Sharjah Police. He said, “I came here to fulfil my duty.”

Haleima Abdullah, 40, one of the women voters, praised the ease of the voting process. “I am happy I voted,” she added.

Voting for the first time, 23-year-old student Alia Hamd Al Kitbi, said,

“Every candidate has a vision or a message to get across.”

The visit of His Highness Shaikh Dr Sultan bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, to the polling station at the Sharjah Chess Club on Thursday to check on the process, gave citizens great motivation to participate in the voting process.

Adullah Ali Al Muhairi, Director of Red Crescent Authority in Sharjah , said, “We are with our leadership and follow their path.”

Meanwhile , the committee of the Sharjah Consultative Council confirmed there was no extension of voting time after 8pm.