EU Voter Registration Website Crashes

APPG James BtB report 2015Last night, in the final hours before the EU voter registration deadline, the official registration website crashed.  Many people who were wanting to register because they were inspired by the TV debates, or were planning to register late, were locked out of the referendum.  Many of these were young people wanting to vote for the first time.

The root causes of the problem are clear. In fact, last week I co-blogged Bite the Ballot and Lord Rennard on how to stop a last minute registration rush. Britain’s electoral registers were missing millions of people.  In 2014, there were 7.5 such million missing voters. Since then, the electoral register has contracted further.  In the heat of an impassioned debate about the future of Britain, the demand from unregistered voters overwhelmed the government’s technical infrastructure.

Such a situation is entirely avoidable.  Earlier in the year, our report from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Democratic Participation on the ‘Missing Millions’ presented tried and tested solutions to keep the register up-to-date all year round. For example, in many democracies around the world, automatic registration is used to avoid a last minute administrative challenge.  Why set ourselves up for a fall?

10 thoughts on “EU Voter Registration Website Crashes

  1. Our system is open to enough fraud already – you are seriously suggesting that people should be able to register without any checks at all? And if people cannot be bothered to register until the last few hours despite having (in many cases) months or even years to do it in then that is their problem. Registration is already available every day with rolling registration. Why should an emergency amendment pander to their whims?

    • I think it is entirely legitimate to try to register to vote at the last minute. We all work to deadlines. I work at a University and would never penalise a student for handing in their essay an hour before the deadline.

      I don’t think that the report proposes registering people without any checks. Perhaps the opposite. If automatic registration is used properly so that other government databases are used to register people, there would be an opportunity for using more checks, if necessary.

    • Registration doesn’t mean you can vote , it will be validated and then only voters will be enrolled . Will you agree if voting booths are closed at 2 pm instead of the regular closing time on election day ?

    • The situation is unclear at the moment. David Cameron has just said that everyone should continue trying to register. A statement from the Cabinet Office will probably follow today.

      I’d suggest contacting your local authority after this.

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