Following major issues with the government website which saw many UK voters unable to register their intent to vote approaching the end of the deadline, the Electoral Commission has today announced that voters will be given extra time to register.
Tens of thousands of people were left unable to register late on 7 March, after the website crashed at around 10.00pm, two hours ahead of the closing deadline.
According to public government data which records website access, around 50,000 people attempted to register to vote between 11.15pm and 11.20pm on Tuesday.
A commission spokesperson earlier today said: “There will be many people who wanted to register to vote last night and were not able to.
“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.”
Writing on Twitter later in the day, Matt Hancock, the Cabinet Office minister, confirmed: “Due to technical problems with the website yesterday we’ll extend deadline to midnight tomorrow.”
The website crash occurred immediately after a televised debate between Prime Minister David Cameron, and prominent ‘Leave’ campaigner and UKIP Leader Nigel Farage, leading to “unprecedented demand” of people registering to vote, according to a Cabinet Office spokeswoman. The Prime Minister confirmed this in a statement on twitter, stating that “Huge demand caused system overload last night.”
Alex Robertson, Director of Communications at the Electoral Commission said:
“No one should miss out on voting in this historic referendum because of the problem with the Government’s registration website last night. We said this morning that legislation should be introduced to extend the registration deadline and we’re pleased the Government will now be making this change.
“We are urging everyone who is not already registered to vote to take this last chance to do so before the end of Thursday (9 June).”
Both Jeremy Corbyn and David Cameron called for the deadline to be extended, with the labour leader writing on twitter late on Tuesday evening:
Registration for voting in the EU Referendum has now been extended to midnight on 9 June.