Voters now have until midnight Thursday after website crash
Labour is calling on the public to register to vote and ‘have their say’ in the EU referendum now the deadline has been extended to midnight tomorrow.
The government bowed to pressure today and agreed to extend the deadline for the June 23 vote after the Cabinet Office’s registration website crashed.
Following last night’s technical error – at a time when 27,000 people were still using the site – Labour and figures from across the spectrum, as well as democracy campaign groups, called on the government to extend the deadline until at least midnight tonight so that those who missed out could still apply to register.
Gloria De Piero MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Voter Registration, said:
‘We welcome the Government’s decision to listen to Labour’s call to extend the deadline for voter registration.
Following the chaos of last night, tens of thousands of people will be relieved that they will have a say in this crucial vote.
We urge everyone who thinks they are not on the register to get back on that website and have their say.’
The extension is thought to benefit Remain voters, leading Matthew Elliot from Vote Leave to email its database saying:
‘We know that the government and their allies are trying to register as many likely Remain voters as possible. That’s why it’s vital that we use this opportunity to make sure every likely Leave voter is registered too.
Whitehall will do anything to stop this country taking back control from the EU. This makes it all the more important that you get friends and family to Vote Leave.’
The email went to the thousands who signed up through their sponsored adverts on Google, many of whom thought they were registering to vote when it was in fact a Vote Leave registration form – something we exposed on this site and which was later quietly taken down.
You now have until tomorrow midnight to register to vote. Spread the word by sharing the link.
82,000 people had signed an emergency 38 Degrees petition that went up this morning asking the government to extend the deadline – a petition which was at one point being signed at a rate of 15 people per second.
The case has been building since last night, when Jeremy Corbyn called for the deadline to be extended so no-one is denied a vote.
Following cross-party support in the Commons, the Cabinet Office released this statement around 3pm, with the Minister for Cabinet Office, Matt Hancock, saying:
‘Following discussions with the Electoral Commission and strong cross-party support expressed in the House of Commons, we will introduce secondary legislation to extend the deadline for voter registration until midnight tomorrow.
Having taken the decision today, we think it is right to extend to 23.59 on Thursday 9 June, to allow people who have not yet registered, the time to get the message that registration is still open and get themselves registered.’
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.
Josiah Mortimer is a regular contributor to Left Foot Forward. You can follow him on Twitter @josiahmortimer.Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.