But Cameron urges unregistered voters to keep trying as deadline expires
A surge in Britons registering to vote in the EU referendum caused the official registration website to crash last night, resulting in calls for the deadline to be extended.
The Gov.uk website experienced a “significant increase in applications to register to vote” that caused the site to crash at around 22:00 on Tuesday evening. These were not resolved until after midnight, by which time the deadline had expired.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has joined others MPs in asking the government to plead with the Electoral Commission watchdog to consider an extension to the registering to vote deadline, as the site buckled under the traffic of over 500,000 visitors.
“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,” said the Electoral Commission today.
Prime Minister David Cameron has also said that people who were not able to register last night should continue trying, as he revealed his government is in urgent talks to make sure everyone who wants to register to vote can do so.
In a statement this morning, Gloria De Piero, the shadow minister for voter registration, said: “We need the government to act to give a 24-hour extension of both the voter registration and postal vote deadlines, so that anyone who has registered to vote today will be able to have their say in the decision of a lifetime.
“We are making an offer to the government today to support any legislative changes necessary in the Commons and the Lords, to ensure democracy isn’t hijacked just because the computer says no.”
The Cabinet Office today said: “We are urgently considering what the options are for those who were unable to register to vote last night.
“We are talking to the Electoral Commission & will provide an update as soon as possible.”
John Rakowski, director of strategy at application intelligence company, AppDynamics, said that the crash highlights the government’s needs to make sure its technology can meet the expectations of the electorate.
“As a wave of applicants tried to access a webpage during a short timeframe, a complex backend of software and IT systems were working overtime behind the scenes to meet unprecedented demand,” he said.
“Government departments must ensure they have end-to-end performance visibility across all their digital services in order to identify and repair emerging access issues before they impact voters. As the government continues its efforts to digitise its services, the pressure is on to ensure their technology meets the needs of its users.”
The Cabinet Office has advised would-be voters to continue registering.
“In the meantime our website is open & working and people should continue to register to vote now” said the Office’s official Twitter account.