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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
27th November 2014
Today’s Smith Commission report will have a huge impact on the democratic landscape of the UK. It gives Scotland a whole range of new powers, as well as paving the way for a real improvement to Scottish democracy: votes at 16 for Holyrood elections.   But it also raises fundamental questions about the future shape of the United […]
21st November 2014
After Clacton, comes Rochester and Strood. At the start of the campaign, the Conservatives felt they stood a good chance of winning this second by-election caused by a Conservative MP defecting to UKIP.   In comparison to Clacton, it should have been a much easier ride. Clacton is the most demographically friendly seat to UKIP […]
17th November 2014
Turnout has been in the news once again, with a report from the Political and Constitutional Reform Committee advocating bank holidays on election days, votes at 16 and other structural changes to increase turnout. Structural and institutional changes are, of course, a vital component of making it easier and more desirable to vote. Yet, voting […]