UAE to use top technology in FNC elections
Abu Dhabi, September 11, 2011
UAE’s Emirates Identity Authority (EIDA), the independent federal body, will deploy its advanced technologies in the upcoming Federal National Council (FNC) elections, said a senior official.
EIDA, which is mandated with implementing the population register and the ID card programme, is extending its state-of-the-art technology capabilities to ensure that the electoral process on September 24 becomes a high-tech and civilised model for the Arab world, added Ali Mohamed Al Khouri, director general of EIDA.
"As a member in the National Election Committee, EIDA will implement the technical programme adopted by the Committee since the Authority has considerable experience in this area,” said Al Khouri, who is also member of the National Election Committee (NEC) and chairman of NEC’s Infrastructure Committee.
“Data from the population register provided by EIDA has already been a valuable source in choosing the Electoral College members, as more than 90% of the citizens are registered with EIDA," he added.
Al Khouri noted that the ID card has been made compulsory for voters to facilitate and streamline the electoral process and enable quick and accurate identification of voters by way of the electronic card reader and the electronic fingerprint.
This would prevent double-voting or fraud as the electronic voting machine will record each vote directly on the ID card of the voter.
Once the card reader confirms the identity of the card holder, the system verifies whether the holder is an eligible voter who has his/her name in the electoral college. The distribution of members in the electoral college was done on the basis of EIDA’s population register and an integrated electronic system had been developed for this purpose and provided to the UAE authorities concerned.
"The Election Management Committee seeks to conduct the electoral process in a manner that befits the UAE’s reputation,” said Tariq Hilal Lootah, Undersecretary of the Ministry of State for Federal National Council Affairs, NEC member, and chairman of the Election Management Committee.
“It was decided to use the electronic voting system for the second time after the first experiment with the system in 2006 proved to be a success. EIDA plays a vital role in the use of ID cards in the voting process and it also provides qualified and trained technical personnel to operate the infrastructure at the polling stations.”
"The population register provided by EIDA was the cornerstone in selecting the electoral college as over 90 per cent nationals are registered. EIDA also participated actively in the registration of candidates and voters, which contributed to developing an electronic management system for the full electoral process,” Lootah added.
Al Khouri meanwhile noted that EIDA brings the best international expertise in the field of electronic voting to provide a unique experience through a special encryption system for the electoral process at various levels. The encryption system follows the highest standards in security, protection and reliability, he said.
“EIDA and NEC maintain active co-ordination and co-operation. A joint committee has been formed to oversee the management of the infrastructure in the voting centres with the help of an integrated system that encrypts data and transmits it safely between polling stations and the NEC data centre,” Al Khouri said.
The integrated technology solutions provided by the joint committee also includes technical support during the election day, and training provided to voters and candidates on the electoral process and voting. The aim of the training is to ensure that the voters can cast their votes quickly and easily.
The Election Management Committee has also issued private encryption keys for sorting and counting votes. The encryption key requires all authorised persons to log in together before sorting and counting can start.
The counting of the votes in the polling stations is followed by the electronic calculation of votes. Technically, this process takes only a few minutes but data is compiled and winners are announced in half an hour to ensure accuracy. – TradeArabia News Service
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