IN this age of cyber wonders, is it any great surprise that the EU referendum registration website broke down just a few hours before the deadline for registration?
Presumably, no one had foreseen the fact that there would be a flurry of last minute registrations especially after the riveting televised ‘debate’ featuring Nigel Farage and David Cameron as the site gave up the ghost at 10.15pm UK time just a quarter of an hour after the broadcast finished.
According to government figures, more than half a million people registered to vote on June 7 and when the site crashed, there were more than 50,000 users, some of whom were accepted and some of whom were not.
In response to a question raised in the Commons the following day, Minister Matthew Hancock said people should carry on registering to vote on the government’s site. “Those registrations will be captured by the system, then we have the legal question about whether captured applications can be eligible for June 23.”
He then added that the aim was that everyone who wanted to was able to take part in “this great festival of democracy,” conveniently ignoring all those expatriates around the world who had been denied the right to vote if they had been out of the UK for more than 15 years.
In Prime Minister’s Questions, Mr Cameron said people should continue to register on June 8, saying the government was working urgently with the commission to “make sure those who registered today and who registered last night will be able to vote in the EU referendum.”
The Electoral Commission also supported the passing of emergency legislation in order to allow additional registrations to be made, although they were silent over the question of passing legislation to allow disenfranchised expatriates to vote even when the matter was taken to court by an expatriate pressure group.