circle_small.gif (2760 bytes)
library
whats_new
online_library
order materials
get_involved
links
about_us

library

London Times

[Editor's note: Supporter of proportional representation and instant runoff voting in the United Kingdom are fighting hard to change the voting system for national elections to the House of Commons after regional successes. ]

"Reform 'primitive' voting system"
From Lord Jenkins and Others
May 25

In 1998, as members of the In-dependent Commission on the Voting System, we recommended changing Britain's primitive first-past-the-post voting system to make it palpably fairer.

The adoption of the reforms agreed by the commission would mean that every vote counted, that of the voter in the safe inner-city constituency as well as that of the middle-England voters in the marginals. It would mean that there were no longer vast swaths of the country where major political parties have no representatives. It would prevent parties winning overwhelming majorities in the Commons when they had failed to win overwhelming majorities in votes.

And yet the reforms, including a more proportional system, would enable single-party governments to be formed when the people had spoken with a decisive voice.

We recognised at the time that this new system would require a substantial revision of existing constituency boundaries. It could not therefore have been introduced in time for the current general election.

However as that election progresses, the disadvantages of the present system are suddenly more manifest. In particular, there is a real prospect that turnout will plunge, as many voters see that their votes will not count.

When the results are assessed, together with the new systems in force for other elections in the United Kingdom, we trust that the force of our arguments will become even more evident. We look to the Government to hold a referendum on our proposals as early as possible in the next Parliament. We dare to hope that this will be the last general election ever fought under first-past-the-post.

Yours faithfully,

ROY JENKINS, ROBERT ALEXANDER, JOHN CHALCOT, JOYCE GOULD, DAVID LIPSEY, c/o Make Votes Count, 6 Chancel Street, SE1 0UU.

 
 
 
 
top of page


 
______________________________________________________________________
Copyright 2001 The Center for Voting and Democracy
6930 Carroll Ave. Suite 901    Takoma Park, MD  20912
(301) 270-4616 ____ info@fairvote.org