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The campaign for a better democracy
For over 100 years we've been leading the campaign for a better democracy
Our history

For over 100 years the Electoral Reform Society has been fighting for fairer votes and a better democracy.

When we were founded in 1884 it was already clear that our political system
was failing to rise to the challenges presented by an emerging modern Britain.

First known as the Proportional Representation Society, the Society was established in 1884 by the Victorian naturalist, archaeologist and polymath Sir John Lubbock to bring likeminded people to the cause of fair votes.

I trust that Great Britain, the mother of Parliaments, may once more take the lead among the great nations of the world by securing for herself a House of Commons which shall really represent the nation.
Society founder Sir John Lubbock, 1884

First gathering at 7 Clarges Street, Westminster, the group quickly snowballed, its founding members drawn from academia, the legal profession and 180 MPs, drawn in equal numbers from the Liberal and Conservative parties.

They were quickly joined by leading luminaries including C.P. Scott, editor of the Manchester Guardian (now The Guardian), the Rev. Charles Dodgson (better known as Lewis Carroll), and Thomas Hare (the inventor of the Single Transferable Vote).

Since then we have been at the forefront of political change, and
remain the world’s oldest organisation concerned with elections and political
reform, recognised by the United Nations for over 30 years.

From securing fair votes in Scottish local government to exposing the
accident waiting to happen that was the Police and Crime Commissioner Elections, we have put voters first, highlighted problems and offered
common sense solutions.

We know that every year that passes with our steam age political system
still in place is a missed opportunity for the people of Britain. Our vision is a representative democracy fit for the 21st century.


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Recent News
20th October 2014
Where should power lie?   Whatever the answer, it won’t do for these decisions to be taken behind closed doors. That’s why we’ve got together with 27 civil society organisations, academics and democracy experts to call for a UK-wide, citizen-led Constitutional Convention empowered to answer questions about the future shape of the UK.   We’ve […]
17th October 2014
“If we Brits could write a constitution for the Germans in 1947/8, why can’t we do it for ourselves?”   When it came to discussing our inaugural annual lecture themed around the next 15 years of devolution, it was pretty easy to decide who would be best suited for the task. Rhodri Morgan was First […]
10th October 2014
So UKIP burst through, taking Clacton on a 44.1% swing, the second highest in UK by-election history after Bermondsey and Old Southwark, 1982.   The two party system is dead, and has been for a long time. The voices suggesting that coalition would renew it are silent. Multi-party politics is here to stay. And it […]