26 May 2017

Diversity deserts: 7.5m people can’t vote for a woman this election

There’s good news and bad news when it comes to women’s representation this election. The good news is this: analysis by the Press Association suggests a record number of women could be elected on June 8 th , meaning (nearly) a third of MPs will be women. The bad news? The progress is glacial – and in some cases we’re going backwards. While any rise in women MPs is welcome, the projected result […]
19 May 2017

The Conservatives just pledged to take our democracy back decades

Yesterday Theresa May launched the Conservatives’ manifesto. There was a lot of talk about ‘moving forwards’. But one pledge stuck out as doing the exact opposite. Theresa May has pledged to impose (or in the manifesto’s words , ‘extend’) First Past the Post for Mayoral, Police and Crime Commissioner elections, and – though still to be confirmed – the London Assembly . We won’t mince our words […]
18 May 2017

Electoral reform returns to the agenda in British Columbia

British Columbia, Canada’s most Western province, has often been the site of electoral reform intrigue. In the run up to the 1952 provincial election the Conservative and Liberal parties tried to stop the socialist Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) from winning a majority by changing to the Alternative Vote system. Instead the Social Credit party emerged as the largest and changed the […]
17 May 2017

The drop in attainers on the electoral roll should worry us all

With a week to go before the cut off for registering to vote for the general election on June 8th, our research has shown that the proportion of school leavers on the electoral roll dropped by over a quarter between 2013 and 2016. Why does it matter that? Most of those school leavers are now 18 or over, and would have been eligible to vote in this election. In the UK you can go on the electoral […]
8 May 2017

‘Progressive alliances’ shouldn’t be necessary: they’re product of a broken voting system

First published in the New Statesman There’s a lot of talk about June 8 th being the ‘tactical voting’ election. This past couple of weeks we’ve seen the latest symptom: parties doing the tactical voting on behalf of the electorate – weeks before polling day. ‘Holding your nose’ has long been a feature under Westminster’s broken first past the post system – opting for the ‘lesser evil’ to stop […]
5 May 2017

The next government must extend votes at 16 beyond Scotland

You might not have realised, but on Thursday, thousands of 16 and 17 year olds trekked to polling stations across the country to exercise their democratic right to vote. They went with the full support of all the main parties – including the Conservatives. The country in question was Scotland. Since the law was passed unanimously in June 2015 (on the same day as MPs in Westminster rejected it for […]
27 Apr 2017

Where are the women in May's local election?

Jess Blair highlights the problem of diversity ahead of next week’s council elections. Since the Prime Minister’s unexpected announcement of a General Election last week there’s been little time to talk of anything else. Our 24 hour news cycle is now dominated by images of May, Corbyn et al traveling the country and trying to persuade us voters that they are the right choice to lead after June […]
19 Apr 2017

Democracy, Diversity and English Devolution

The excitement of the general election aside, it’s important to remember that there are other important elections coming up – ones that have gone largely under the national radar. As well as important local elections in Scotland, Wales and much of England, the first ‘metro-mayors’ will be elected. Six new city-region mayors will be elected with wide-ranging powers over the local economy, […]
13 Apr 2017

Deadline Day: Our Voter Registration System Needs An Overhaul

On the evening of the 7 th June last year – just a couple of weeks before the EU referendum – the website to register to vote crashed. Cue havoc, thousands of disappointed and angry people, and then an arbitrary extension of the registration deadline once the site was back up. On the whole, it was a slightly embarrassing affair for the government and Britain’s system of registration. It all fell […]
11 Apr 2017

A month before polling day, nearly 100 candidates in Wales have already won

Voting is an essential part of democratic life - from Mayoral contests to Westminster elections. Yet in an alarming number of places next month, voters in Wales will be denied a vote. That’s not because there aren’t elections happening – there are. It’s because in 92 local council seats, there’s only one candidate standing: which means there’s no ballot box. Those 92 candidates have won before […]