Website performance issues stop UK public from registering to vote

UPDATE: As reported by the BBC, the EU referendum vote registration has been extended.

The site allowing the UK public to register to vote in this year’s EU referendum crashed mere hours before the midnight deadline, stopping the final batch of voters from being able to register. Voters, along with MPs, are calling for an extension.

Millions had yet to sign up

The site began experiencing performance issues 90 minutes before the deadline, raising questions in the testing of the site. MPs Gloria De Piero, Yvette Cooper and Jeremy Corbyn showed their agreement with the voters on Twitter last night, tweeting that if the site was experiencing technical difficulties, that the registration deadline should be extended in order to allow voters to exercise their democratic right to vote. The uproar is caused due to millions of people having yet to sign up, a chunk of which could have signed up last minute had the site not been experiencing performance issues. 50,000 people were live on the registration site before the crash, and it is believed that 32,446 people were trying to register during the crash at around 11:20pm, a large amount of votes that could alter the outcome of the referendum.

Is the government’s IT infrastructure to blame?

According to expert Anthony Edwards, CTO at TestPlant, the UK government needs to look more closely at its IT infrastructure in order to stop problems such as this happening again in the future.

“Politicians need to start considering IT projects as large infrastructure with specific levels of capacity in the same way as transport, energy, or any other government infrastructure. At the same time, IT projects need to get much better at making capacity constraints clear and not promising utopia, because while everyone accepts waiting in a phone queue to speak to HMRC, you are at least re-assured that you are in a queue; no-one would be happy with being told ‘a 504 error has occurred’.”

Written by Jordan Platt.