Voter registration website crash '˜entirely avoidable' - Worthing West MP

A last-minute surge of voters looking to register for the EU referendum leading to the dedicated website crashing was '˜entirely unavoidable', according to Worthing West's MP.

Wednesday, 8th June 2016, 12:18 pm
Updated Friday, 10th June 2016, 11:35 am
Sir Peter Bottomley, pictured last year

Just hours before last night’s deadline the Government website crashed, with some visitors to the site seeing an error message due to the large number of internet traffic.

A number of political leaders are calling for the registration period to be extended, and Prime Minister David Cameron has urged people to continue to register online, even though the deadline has passed.

But Worthing West MP Sir Peter Bottomley has backed calls suggesting the situation could have been avoided.

He said: “In the final hours before the EU voter registration deadline, the registration website crashed. Many people who wanted to register because they were inspired by the #TurnUp campaign or TV debates, or were simply planning to register late, were locked out of the referendum. Many of these were young people planning to vote for the first time.

“The root causes of the problem are clear. Britain’s electoral registers were missing millions of people. In 2014, there were 7.5 such million missing voters. Since then, the register has contracted further.

“In the heat of an impassioned debate about the future of Britain, the demand from ‘soon-to-be’ registered voters overwhelmed the Government’s technical infrastructure.

“This situation was entirely avoidable.

“Earlier this year, a 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.

“In many democracies around the world, automatic registration is used to avoid a last minute administrative challenge. This is a solution that must now be given proper consideration in the UK.

“The ‘Missing Millions’ recommendations must now be implemented without delay. We call on the Cabinet Office and Electoral Commission to lead this charge.”

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