27,000 could be denied a vote due to last minute website issues
Jeremy Corbyn has called for the deadline to register to vote for the EU referendum to be extended, as 27,000 or more people were potentially denied the vote yesterday when the Cabinet Office’s registration website crashed half an hour before midnight.
Corbyn tweeted last night:
— Jeremy Corbyn MP (@jeremycorbyn) June 7, 2016
The site was down for around half an hour just before the midnight deadline.
If this is right, deadline must be extended. People can’t be denied right to vote because computer says no //t.co/dbzR3Zj0vY
— Yvette Cooper (@YvetteCooperMP) June 7, 2016
Overall, 525,000 people applied to register yesterday, with 132,000 under the age of 25, and 170,000 between the ages of 25 and 34 after a huge #EURefReady push on social media by the Electoral Commission and campaign groups such as Bite the Ballot.
The Register to Vote site showed this page:
However, signs from the government so far on a possible extension aren’t promising. A Cabinet Office spokesperson told the BBC:
‘We became aware of technical issues on [the registration website] late on Tuesday night due to unprecedented demand.
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.’
So it doesn’t look like the deadline will be extended – unless the government bows to pressure. At 1am – post-deadline – they tweeted that the problem had been fixed and that they were ‘sorry’.
The technical issue on //t.co/tHARhjsXcV has been fixed, following very high demand. We’re sorry if you have experienced issues.
— GOV UK (@GOVUK) June 7, 2016
The apology won’t of course give those people the vote they tried to secure, though.
The Electoral Commission seemed more unapologetic despite the technical errors, saying:
— Electoral Commission (@ElectoralCommUK) June 7, 2016
Neither David Cameron nor or the Electoral Commission have said it would be possible to extend deadline yet, although pressure is mounting.
1.2m people have tried to register in the past week:
This whole scenario arguably adds weight to calls for an end to an arbitrary registration system and a shift to automatic registration instead…
Josiah Mortimer is a regular contributor to Left Foot Forward. You can follow him on Twitter@josiahmortimer
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