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Pressure mounts as thousands rush to register for EU Referendum vote

The U.K.'s referendum on whether it remains part of the European Union may just be over two weeks away, but if citizens want to have their say on the nation's future EU membership, they have until tonight to register.

Hundreds of thousands of voters are heading online to register for the referendum vote as Tuesday's midnight deadline looms, with some 226,000 signing up to register on Monday alone, The Electoral Commission confirmed.

A European Union referendum postal voting form waiting to be signed
Christopher Furlong | Getty Images News | Getty Images
A European Union referendum postal voting form waiting to be signed

"There has been a really big surge in the last couple of days, and our history does tell us that people do tend to leave their registration to the last minute," Lisa Camps, communications officer at The Electoral Commission, told CNBC over the phone.

"So we do expect that today is going to be another really big day for applications, as people get their applications in before the deadline at midnight," Camps added.

A similar rush was seen at the 2015 General Elections, when over 485,000 people waited until the registration deadline day to submit their application via paper form or online. However, around 23,000 lost their opportunity to vote when they submitted their application the day after the deadline.

Over the course of the official 10-week EU Referendum campaign, both the "Stronger In" and "Vote Leave" groups have ramped up their campaigns to persuade voters to see the benefits — or disadvantages — of staying in the 28-country political-economic bloc.

In April, Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne told CNBC that leaving the EU would cause "an economic shock and a long-term economic cost for the U.K.", while former British foreign secretary Lord David Owen said late April, that it was in Britain's interest to "get out now before there's a collapse (in the EU)."

Despite all this campaigning, there's still no clear winner in sight. One of YouGov's latest polls with The Times showed late Monday that 43 percent wanted to remain, 42 percent wanted to leave and the rest had either yet to decide or wouldn't vote.

One age group that organizations really want to encourage to vote is the younger generation; especially as a new BMG Research poll last week revealed that only 47 percent of 18-24 year olds said they'd definitely vote in the debate, compared to the 80 percent of those aged 65 and above.

"The referendum's decision is going to affect all of us, particularly if you're a young (UK) citizen, as it will affect you for much longer," Kenny Imafidon, partnerships and research coordinator at Bite The Ballot, a party-neutral movement encouraging young people to become active change-makers, told CNBC over the phone.

To encourage more people to register and vote, The Electoral Commission has teamed up with Twitter to launch its #EURefReady campaign, which includes hashtags and neon emojis.

Previous campaigns with Facebook and Twitter have triggered "a really big surge in applications to register", Camps said, highlighting how these platforms are becoming increasingly useful in communicating with younger age groups, especially on politics.

This is a debate that all U.K. citizens "need to be involved and engaged in," as if people don't register or don't vote they can't complain about the outcome, Imafidon said, quoting Channel 4 News anchor, Jon Snow.

"Whatever happens after June 23, we are going to have to live with those consequences, (however U.K. citizens) all need to vote and have their say," Imafidon added, saying "every vote counts."

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