Kuwaiti men have been casting ballots in the last elections in the Gulf state before women get the right to vote.
The poll is said to be less political than parliamentary elections
The 130,000 voters are electing 10 municipal councillors, responsible for planning and public services.
Last month, the Kuwaiti parliament passed a law allowing women to vote and stand for election, but it came too late for Thursday's polls.
Women will be able to take part in parliamentary elections in 2007 and the next local elections in 2009.
"This is an historic day. It is the last time that only half the society will make decisions for the country," said women's suffrage campaigner Rula Dashti in remarks quoted by AFP news agency.
Fifty-four candidates were standing for the seats, including representatives of Islamist, liberal and tribal groups. A further six people are appointed to the body by the ruler, Sheikh Jabir al-Ahmed Sabah.
Voting, which is being held under tight security, was said to be slow.