Electoral Reform – Make Votes Matter

Volt Calls for Proportional Represenation in General Elections.

The British Electoral System for the House of Commons is undemocratic and leads to citizens’ votes being wasted. Volt pledges support for electoral reform in line with the Good Systems Agreement developed by our partners Make Votes Matter.

Volt has joined the Make Vote Matter Alliance with many others to campaign as a single force for electoral reform to overturn FPTP once and for all. Currently parties from all political ideologies support the campaign alongside other organisations and individuals.

Good Systems Agreement

A historic cross-party consensus on Proportional Representation which Volt is proud to support.

Signed by political parties, MPs and campaign organisations from across the political spectrum, this agreement sets out the principles that we believe a new voting system must deliver, and calls for a citizen-led, deliberative process to choose a new system.

Good systems ensure that seats closely match votes, with parliamentary representation at least as proportional as the Scottish Parliament. 

Good systems ensure MPs and governments represent the views of the voters. 

Good systems ensure the value of individual votes is not distorted by factors such as geography, and minimise the need for tactical voting. 

Good systems maintain links between MPs and specific geographic areas. 

Good systems encourage the election of parliaments reflecting the population. 

Good systems allow voters a wide choice of parties, and allow voters to express preferences for people rather than just parties. Any lists used must be democratically determined. 

Good systems ensure MPs and governments are accountable to the voters. 

Good systems engender stable, flexible government that has the ability to compromise. 

Good systems are able to respond and adapt to changing needs without requiring frequent or fundamental change. 

Good systems and ballot papers are easy for voters to understand and use.

Download the agreement in PDF

What about 2011 and AV?

The Alternative Vote is not Proportional Representation. It does not follow the Good Systems Agreement criteria.

Recent polls of the British public consistently show overwhelming support for the principle of a proportional electoral system. Opinion polls have to be treated with some caution, but all the evidence from the last few years shows support outstripping opposition by a wide – often huge – margin. On the other hand, no research that we are aware of that has been conducted by a recognised pollster has shown a majority in favour of First Past the Post.

How to get Electoral Reform?

“The best voting system for the UK would ideally be determined by citizens through an evidence-based, deliberative process.”

The signatories believe the best way to choose a new voting system for the UK is through a citizen-led, deliberative process – such as a citizens’ assembly.

A citizens’ assembly is a large group of ordinary people selected in a similar way to a jury, but with care taken to ensure it is representative of the population at large. They are given the opportunity to hear from and cross-examine experts, to deliberate and reach recommendations.

Internationally, citizens’ assemblies have been used successfully to make sensible and popular recommendations on a host of complex and controversial issues. As an example, the video below explains how a recent citizens’ assembly successfully broke the longstanding deadlock over reproductive rights in Ireland.

Alternatively, a broader constitutional convention could serve the same purpose, provided it: 1) has a specific focus on electoral reform; 2) has a short, fixed time-frame for recommending a new voting system within the next parliament; and, 3) is genuinely led by citizens rather than experts, politicians or party appointees.