Prime Minister of the United Kingdom David Cameron is in talks with the Electoral Commission to extend the deadline for voter registration for the European Union referendum after the Register To Vote website went down due to server overload during the last two hours people could register. Cameron has urged people to continue to register
The deadline, set out by law, would have to be changed in Parliament. It’s likely that Cameron will either schedule an emergency debate under Standing Order Number 24, or pass a Statutory Instrument changing the deadline in this one circumstance.
The Electoral Commission said,
“It is vital that everyone who wants to participate in this historic referendum is able to.
“There was a very significant increase in applications to register to vote yesterday on the Government’s website. However, issues with the government website arose around 10:15pm and were not resolved until after the registration deadline at midnight.
“The Government are looking into exactly what happened.
“There will be many people who wanted to register to vote last night and were not able to. The registration deadline is set out in legislation and we have said to the Government this morning they should consider options for introducing legislation as soon as possible that would extend the deadline. We would support such a change.”
Both Leader of the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn, and Leader of the Liberal Democrats Tim Farron have called for an extension, with Farron saying,
“It is a major blow to the ‘In’ campaign and our prospects of staying in Europe.
“With individual voter registration, and a big campaign to encourage young people to register, many of whom have been trying to do so last minute, this could have major consequences for the result. Evidence shows younger people are overwhelmingly pro-European, and if they are disenfranchised it could cost us our place in Europe.
“It could also turn them off democracy for life.”
Westminster Leader of the Scottish National Party Angus Robertson said,
“[The deadline] must be [extended because] nobody should be denied their vote”.
Pro-Leave campaigner and Justice Secretary Michael Gove said,
“I know these are complex legal waters but I would not want to do anything to frustrate people’s opportunity to register.”
The Cabinet Office, which is responsible for supporting the Prime Minister and the effective running of Government said,
“Some people did manage to get through and their applications were processed. We tried to resolve the situation as quickly as was possible and to resolve cases where people tried to register but were not able to.”
Yesterday alone, over 525,000 people registered to vote.
UPDATE: It has been announced within the last few moments that the deadline will now be Thursday, giving just under 32 hours to continue to register. Make sure you’re registered so your voice will get heard!
This story will be updated as events happen. To register to vote, go to https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote – If you do it quickly, it’s possible that you may still be able to vote in the Referendum