Oman Employs Electronic Voting System for Majlis A’Shura Elections
In a significant move towards embracing technology in democratic processes, the Sultanate of Oman has implemented an electronic voting system for the elections of its Majlis A’Shura. Over 750,000 registered voters had the opportunity to cast their ballots electronically, marking a departure from the traditional ballot box voting system. This new initiative aims to save time and provide a more convenient voting experience for citizens.
The voting process began at 8 am on Sunday and utilized state-of-the-art electronic technology. It is scheduled to conclude by 7 pm on the same day. According to the data from the Ministry of Interior of Oman, there are a total of 753,690 registered voters, with 390,846 men and 362,844 women. Among them, 13,843 voters, including 9,230 men and 4,613 women, cast their ballots from outside the Sultanate.
To facilitate the electronic voting process, voters in Oman used the Intakhib (Elect) electronic app. This app, specially developed for the elections, incorporated an improved second version that includes features such as audio readings and sign language instructions for voters with hearing disabilities. With a user-friendly interface and advanced security measures, including encryption technologies, the app ensured a smooth and secure voting experience.
Explaining the voting procedure, Sumaya Albalushi, a member of the media team in the Ministry of Interior, highlighted the requirements for voters. Participants needed to be above 21 years old and use a smartphone with two cameras to access the application. The introduction of technology and the use of ID cards ensured a transparent and efficient voting process.
The implementation of the electronic voting system received praise from citizens. Ahmed Al Mahrooqi, a voter at the event, emphasized the significance of this new approach, stating, This time, we are using technology…this time we have the ‘Intakhib’ application…we are making people use it with their ID cards. Abdallah Ahmed AlRubaiey, a TV anchor and reporter, highlighted that the initiative ensured efficiency, integrity, and transparency in the voting process.
The Majlis A’Shura, also known as the Shura Council, is the lower house of the Omani Parliament. Established in 1991, it replaced the previous Consultative Council of the State. This elected body holds legislative and oversight responsibilities, contributing to the development and progress of the country. The current elections for the Shura Council’s tenth term align with Oman’s Vision 2040 and its plans for economic, investment, and development spheres.
Oman’s Ministry of Interior confirmed that artificial intelligence played a crucial role in ensuring the elections’ smooth administration, technical aspects, and adherence to legal requirements. It also provided comprehensive press coverage and transparent access to all relevant information and data associated with the elections.
A total of 843 candidates, including 32 women, competed in the Shura Council’s Tenth Term Elections, marking a forward-looking approach in Oman’s strategic plans and visions. The elected members of the Shura Council for the tenth term will play a crucial role in realizing Oman’s long-term goals, implementing five-year plans, and shaping future strategies.
The adoption of an electronic voting system demonstrates Oman’s commitment to embracing technological advancements in governance, enhancing citizen engagement, and ensuring democratic processes are efficient and inclusive. The use of the Intakhib app and advanced electronic technology in this election showcases Oman’s dedication to transparency, integrity, and the progress of its nation.