- Electoral Reform Society
The Electoral Reform Society is a campaign group based in the
United Kingdomwhich promotes electoral reform. It was founded in January 1884 as the Proportional Representation Society by John Lubbock, the name was changed to Electoral Reform Society in 1958. It is believed to be the oldest organisation concerned with electoral systems in the world. The current Chief Executiveis Ken Ritchie.
Since its formation, the society has promoted the use of the
Single Transferable Vote(STV) in general elections. It also has many influences around the world in concern with electoral reformation. The mission of the society is to secure an electoral system in the UK which it believes will:
*Give all votes equal value
*Give effective representation to all significant points of view within the electorate
*Not have the problem of tactical voting and votes wasted.
*Ensure the accountability of individual representatives to their electorates
The society recommends the Single Transferable Vote system in multi-member constituencies for general elections.
The Society's principal activities are:
*Lobbying politicians, political parties and opinion makers.
*Publishing books and leaflets.
*Running an education programme for schools, colleges and the general public.
*Arranging lectures and seminars.
*Analysing and commenting on public elections.
*Providing an information service to respond to enquiries about public elections and electoral procedure.
The Society is a founder member of the
Make Votes Count Coalition.
The ERS was founded in January 1884 as the Proportional Representation Society by John Lubbock. The founding members included academics,
barristers, and Conservative and Liberal MPs. Famous members included Charles Dodgson, C.P. Scottand Thomas Hare.
The Society campaigned for the introduction of STV until 1888. It then became inactive until 1904. It resumed campaigning for STV, succeeding in getting it introduced in
local elections in Ireland, and in numerous religious, educational and professional organisations.
World War IIthe Society suffered from financial problems and a lack of public interest in electoral reform. It was kept going for many decades by its Director, Enid Lakeman, an inveterate pamphleteer, public speaker and writer of letters to newspapers about STV.
Fianna Fáiltwice (1959 and 1968) put to a referendum a proposal to abolish STV in Ireland and revert to first-past-the-post, Enid Lakeman led a successful ERS campaign to keep STV there. [(Sinnott, Richard, 1999. ‘The electoral system’, pp. 99–126 in John Coakley and Michael Gallagher (eds), Politics in the Republic of Ireland, 3rd ed. London: Routledge and PSAI Press.)]
In 1973 STV was introduced in
Northern Irelandfor elections to local councils and to the new Northern Ireland Assembly, and the Society and its staff were called upon to advise in the programme of education set up by the government to train returning officers in the new techniques and raise public awareness in the Province of the implications of the new voting method. [http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/issues/politics/election/electoralsystem.htm]
Interest in proportional representation revived sharply in the UK in 1974, and from then on the Electoral Reform Society was able to secure a higher public profile for its campaign for STV.
In 1983 the Society was recognised by the
United Nations Economic and Social Councilas a Non-Governmental Organisationwith Consultative Status. In 1994, the Society celebrated its centenary.
Recently, the Society has campaigned successfully for the introduction of STV for local elections in
The Society has three closely related organisations:
* Electoral Reform Services (ERS, formerly Electoral Reform Ballot Services): A company established in 1988 to provide an independent balloting and polling service to organisations conducting elections and polls. The service is widely used by
trade unions, political parties, building societiesand companies when balloting their members or shareholders in ways defined by the law and their internal management. In many cases these organisations are forbidden from conducting their ballots internally in an attempt to ensure that the ballots are conducted impartially.
* Electoral Reform International Services (ERIS): A company established in 1991 to provide assistance in conducting elections worldwide. Activities include advice, training and election monitoring.
* The McDougall Trust: A registered charity which promotes the understanding of electoral issues.
How to Count an Election by The Single Transferable Vote
* [http://www.electoral-reform.org.uk Official website]
* [http://www.erbs.co.uk/ Electoral Reform Services]
* [http://www.employees.org.uk/HowDecisionsAreMade.jpgT and G Representational Structure] example of a union voting system supervised in some parts by Electoral Reform Services.
* [http://www.eris.org.uk/ Electoral Reform International Services]
* [http://www.makemyvotecount.org.uk/ Make Votes Count coalition] , of which the ERS is a founder member
* [http://electoralreform.wikicities.com/wiki/Electoral_Reform_Society Article on the ERS from the Electoral Reform Wiki City]
* [http://governance.50webs.com Articles and Memorandum of Association of the ERS] from an unofficial site.
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