The ‘Vote Leave’ campaign has been accused of seriously misleading would-be voters with a fake link on their website for voters to register.
As reported by The Independent, the group appears to have bought an advert on Google which placed their website top of the results when ‘register to vote’ is searched.
A link that read ‘have you registered to vote?’ appeared, before directing those who clicked to a page that included a form which said ‘Register To Vote Now’.
One slight problem – filling in this form didn’t register you to vote at all, it just sent your details to ‘Vote Leave’.
Education Secretary Nicky Morgan, who is part of ‘Vote Remain’, has reportedly written to the Electoral Commission to make them aware of the leave campaign’s ‘underhand tactics’.
Morgan and Labour MP Stella Creasy wrote in a joint letter to the Commission:
It has come to our attention that Vote Leave appear to have paid for online advertising to ensure that their campaign website regarding registration is promoted ahead of the government website that directly enables citizens to register to vote.
This website does not enable people to register, and therefore could easily mislead people in to thinking that they have secured their ballot paper.
By securing a ranking for this site higher than the official registration site, Vote Leave’s underhand tactics could disenfranchise citizens without their knowledge who have in good faith used this site to try to register.
The ugly incident was made public on the final day citizens had to register to vote, and comes just one week after leave campaigners were accused of setting up a ‘con’ competition to harvest the details of those who entered. The competition promised a multi-million pound prize, but the odds of winning were allegedly one in several billion.
With polls suggesting young voters are likely to opt to remain in the European Union, it is feared ‘Vote Leave’ attempted to mislead youngsters who were trying to register last minute.
Since this story originally broke, the website was updated to include a genuine link to voting registration.
The campaign for Brexit is yet to comment on the allegations.
An NCTJ Journalist with an MA in Sports Journalism, Kieron is an experienced social media journalist who has worked in the industry since 2015. His experience includes work with ITN, the MEN, WISH/WIRE/TOWER FM, and 8:50 Sports Digest… not forgetting his time at ASDA.