Remain campaigners, including Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron, are demanding an extension to the registration deadline after the website crashed in order to register more young, Europhile voters.
A reported half a million people, more than half of which are aged under 35, registered yesterday to vote in the referendum on the membership of Britain in the European Union (EU) ahead of the midnight deadline.
However, at 11:35 pm the Cabinet Office, the government department in charge of the website, tweeted that it was aware of an issue with the website, and was working to resolve it.
We're aware of the technical issue on https://t.co/tHARhjsXcV. We're working to resolve it. This is due to unprecedented demand. Update soon
— GOV UK (@GOVUK) June 7, 2016
Users visiting the website were met with a “504 Gateway Time-out” message instead of the online registration form. The issue was resolved after the midnight deadline, but the Cabinet Office could not comment whether registrations made after that time would be valid or not.
British voters had been advised of the deadline to register for the referendum for months, with people being able to complete registration using their mobile phones, registration taking as little as five minutes.
However, the Remain campaign are desperate to extend voter registration by 24 hours in order to register more younger voters who, according to opinion polls, are more likely to vote Remain.
Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the opposition Labour Party, said on Twitter: “I’m told [the official website] has crashed so people can’t register to vote for #EUreferendum. If so, deadline has to be extended.”
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) June 7, 2016
This morning, Sky News reported comments by leader of the Liberal Democrat party, Tim Farron, as saying: ‘This is a shambles…It is a major blow to the Remain campaign”, because a majority of those attempting to register last night would probably have been under 40.
When invited on Sky News, he appeared to “clarify” these statements, saying that “extending registration would enhance democracy”, qualifying that many of those attempting to vote were young people, who otherwise would be barred from voting in the referendum on the 23 June due to “the banality of a technical glitch”.
Claiming that the system had stopped working at 10pm, Mr. Farron stated that “thousands of young people were unable to register”.
“Given that young people are affected the most and the longest by the outcomes it would be appalling if a shadow were cast on the result because people were locked out due to a technical glitch.”
When questioned whether the Remain campaign would be as enthusiastic to demand an extension to voter registration had the demographic of those attempting to register were those more likely to vote Leave, the Lib Dem leader backpedalled slightly on his assertions that the young would be most affected, saying: “Well none of us know. We think it’s mostly young people.”
This comes after a massive tax payer-funded push to register more than one million young people to vote, which will drastically alter the country’s EU referendum result. In the past month, of the 1.6 million newly-registered voters, 900,000 of those were people under 34 years.
Though younger people more likely to vote Remain, analysis by polling firm Ipsos Mori shows that they are far less likely to vote, so the Remain campaign has a vested interest in registering more younger voters — under the guise of “enhancing democracy” — to ensure that numbers are artificially supported in favour of Britain remaining a member of the EU.