The next four years for reform: our 2020 strategy

Electoral Reform Society,

Posted on the 7th September 2016

Over the past few years, the Electoral Reform Society has gone from strength to strength.

As the world’s oldest pro-democracy organisation, we have a long history of fighting to build a better democracy. And now we’ve reached an exciting new chapter in that history.

At the ERS we want to build a democracy fit for the 21st century. So we’re proud to be taking our work to the next level, with the launch of our new strategy for the next four years.

A lot has changed since the referendum on the Alternative Vote in 2011. And the ERS has changed too. We have successfully restored our credibility and regained our place as the UK’s foremost commentator on democracy.

These past few years we’ve seen our support grow hugely – gaining over 80,000 supporters and doubling our membership in the aftermath of last year’s General Election (the most disproportionate ever). We brought together half a million signatories and five major political parties to deliver a petition for fair votes into Downing Street. And even since then we’ve won concrete victories on everything from party funding (via Trade Union Bill) to the Scottish Lobbying Act, while successfully campaigning to mitigate the effects of cuts to funding for opposition parties, and securing UKIP and the Greens’ place in the televised Welsh Assembly election debates.

We’ve been deepening public involvement in our democracy – intervening in the EU referendum to ensure that the public had a chance for meaningful, informed deliberation through our Better Referendum online tool, as well as through our ground-breaking ‘Citizens’ Assemblies’ on local devolution in Sheffield and Southampton in partnership with leading universities (‘Democracy Matters’). On top of this we contributed to the EU debate more widely through extensive pollingcomment and recommendations – see our landmark EU referendum report launched last week, ‘It’s Good to Talk: Doing Referendums Differently After the EU Vote.

Our wider work to build a better democracy has been making waves too – whether it’s on Lords reform (putting it well and truly on the agenda), promoting votes at 16, or building our links with trade unions so that the campaign for fairer votes is broader than ever.

Our vision of a 21st century democracy remains the same – it’s one where every voice is heard, every vote is valued equally, and every citizen is empowered to take part. But the UK is now facing a period of constitutional flux, with everything to play for. With so much at stake, now is our chance to renew our focus on building a better democracy.  Our new strategy for the next four years will help put us more firmly than ever on that path.

We’ve consulted widely to set these goals, and we’ve got a great team to help achieve them. Let us know what you think – and do share far and wide.

So here they are. The Electoral Reform Society’s aims for 2016-2020:

1. Building alliances for electoral reform – commitments to fair votes in party manifestos, backed up by significant increase in public support.

2. Deepening public involvement in our democracy – a UK-wide constitutional convention, alongside greater citizen involvement in devolution and where power lies.

3. Winning policy pledges to build a better democracy – party commitments to an elected House of Lords, votes at 16, a registration revolution, fair boundaries, party funding reform and a democratic devolution settlement.

We can’t achieve these things on our own – our success in building a better democracy relies on you. So please, if you share our aims and our vision – join us today. Together, we can achieve the change this country needs.

We’re excited about this new period in the history of democratic reform. We hope you are too.

Join the Electoral Reform Society today

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