Farron calls for voter registration deadline to be extended after “shambles”

Tens of thousands of people wee still trying to register to vote before last night midnight’s deadline but the site crashed and none of them were processed.

This last minute surge and the problems associated with it were highlighted in a blog on Democratic Audit last week as we repotted on Saturday.

Tim Farron is one of many voices calling for the deadline to be extended to enable those people to have their say in the referendum. He said:

This is a shambles the government has presided over and people must be given an extra day to exercise their democratic right, It is also a major blow to the ‘In’ campaign and our prospects of staying in Europe.

With individual voter registration, and a big campaign to encourage young people to register, many of whom have been trying to do so last minute, this could have major consequences for the result. Evidence shows younger people are overwhelmingly pro-European, and if they are disenfranchised it could cost us our place in Europe.

It could also turn them off democracy for life.

Voters must be given an extra day while this mess is sorted out urgently.

Jeremy Corbyn and several other Labour figures like Gloria De Piero and Yvette Cooper have made the same call. Let’s hope there is something that can be done to ensure that everyone has their chance to vote. It would be a real crisis if the Leave campaign were to win by less than the number of people who were trying to register before the deadline.

This is all the more pressing after reports that a misleading page on the Vote Leave site which came up in Google searches if people were searching about registering to vote had been deleted. What is disappointing is that the Electoral Commission basically said that it was powerless to act.

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10 Comments

  • nigel hunter 8th Jun '16 - 10:07am

    It has been noted how devious the ‘outers’ campaign has been, the Google sight is just the latest. If the outers win is this going to lead to a swing further to the right in the political scene? That would be a worrying outcome.

  • …………This is a shambles the government has presided over and people must be given an extra day to exercise their democratic right, It is also a major blow to the ‘In’ campaign and our prospects of staying in Europe…………..

    Why? It’s not as if the deadline was announced at midday yesterday.

  • And if it is extended by a day and everyong leaves it till the last minute causing a crash again?
    From yesterdays Telegraph http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/06/07/david-cameron-is-getting-worried–why-else-would-he-be-making-na/

    “… Cameron’s right, of course, to encourage the highest possible participation in the referendum. But if he’s depending on people who haven’t, up to this point, even bothered to register to vote, then he’s already lost. As Jeremy Corbyn or his successor as Labour leader will find out in 2020, non voters have acquired that description for a reason.”

  • Peter Watson 8th Jun '16 - 10:55am

    I fear that if voter registration is extended it will be portrayed as an attempt to rig the election in favour of Remain (would it look like the government/establishment deciding to extend registration in order to allow younger EU-friendly voters to register?) and make it even harder for Brexiters to accept a result that keeps us in the EU.

  • Richard Underhill 8th Jun '16 - 12:08pm

    Tim Farron was on TV before PMQ.

  • There was no “shambles”; a lot of people receiving a life lesson about leaving things to the last minute.

    What I find interesting is both the numbers of people who are registering at the last minute (2+ million in the last month) and the age demographic; it does look like lots of young people are finally waking up… However, we don’t know the demographic of those eligible to vote and not registered, hence there might be a much larger pool of older voters who can’t be bothered to register…

  • Chris Rennard 8th Jun '16 - 5:15pm

    The deadline for registering to vote is now being extended until midnight tomorrow night Tuesday 9th June, subject to Parliamentary approval, but there is all party agreement.

    It is not ‘rigging’ an election to enable people entitled to vote, to be registered in order to do so. The Conservatives last autumn removed 1.9 m entries from the electoral register, against the advice of the Electoral Commission. This disenfranchised many people (unless they re-registered) and since they were predominantly non-Conservatives in non-Conservative areas, this helped the Conservatives in May and with the next parliamentary boundary review as they were removed on the day that the Boundary Commissions began work.
    I askd the Minister in the Lords this afternoon if he recognised that part of the problem now is that many people think that the process of electoral registration happens ‘automatically’ when it does not, but should do, and if the Government will now introduce a simple online method enabling people to quickly check whether they are registered or not,as many of the applications have come from people already registered.

  • Rightsaidfredfan 8th Jun '16 - 9:37pm

    The government removed the young disproportionately from the electoral register. This helped them win the general election. If they lose the referendum by the skin of their teeth as a result of so many young people not being on the electoral register that would be karma. 🙂

  • Shaun Young 9th Jun '16 - 12:40pm

    @Peter Watson – It would appear you assumption was correct: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-eu-referendum-36486369

    What I find strange is that one of the arguments used by the ‘Brexit’ side is the ‘Un-Democratic / Un-elected’ issue of the EU – I am sure this will rumble on now for the next two weeks! :-/

  • Nonconformistradical 9th Jun '16 - 1:41pm

    “There was no “shambles”; a lot of people receiving a life lesson about leaving things to the last minute.”

    Just like they do over submitting tax returns – for which the deadline has been extended in the past after a website crash..

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