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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
18th August 2014
Recent weeks have continued to see all sorts of handwringing and dark soothsaying about the state of representative democracy. Untrusted politicians, growing inequality and low election turnouts are just part of this sorry state.   So what is to be done?   A new report seems to point the way ahead for us here in […]
13th August 2014
Did you vote in the European elections earlier this year? Perhaps not – it turns out that the 2014 ballot had the lowest ever turnout of any European election, at less than 43%.   Shortly before the elections, we published a report giving 12 practical recommendations on how to improve European democracy for British people. […]
8th August 2014
Another 22 peers have been appointed to the House of Lords today. Here are some facts, figures and thoughts about the announcement.   The new peers have donated nearly £7m to political parties. The vast majority of the £6,912,841 comes from one donor, Michael Farmer. But another five of the new peers are also party […]