What is Make Votes Matter?
Make Votes Matter is the campaign for Proportional Representation in the House of Commons by 2021. We believe that our voting system should ensure:
- That those who are entitled to vote have a vote that counts, and counts equally – no matter who they vote for, or where they live;
- That the share of seats a party gets should closely reflect the share of votes the people give them.
Our current voting system fails these simple tests. The 2015 general election was the most disproproportionate in British history with one party receiving 4.7% of the vote and 56 MPs whilst another recieved 12.7% but just one MP. We now have a majority government with absolute power despite only having the support of 37% of voters in the general election. UKIP, the Green Party and the Liberal Democrats recieved 24% of the votes but just 10 MPs (1.6% of seats in parliament).
First Past the Post (FPTP) not only distorts election results but also means the majority do not have a vote that matters. The Electoral Reform Society has calculated that 74% of votes cast at the general election did not have an impact on the overall result; either cast for losing candidates or for the winning candidate above and beyond the amount needed to win. In effect, this locks the majority of people out of politics and means that our general elections are decided by a few thousand swing voters in a dwindling number of safe seats.
After the general election last year, nearly half a million people signed petitions calling for a fairer voting system. There was an upsurge in support for Proportional Representation and grassroots activists came together to carry on the momentum. Make Votes Matter is an organisation set up by these activists and based on the thousands of supporters who emerged after 2015.
The 2015 general election fuelled a hunger for change. Our broken voting system is on its last legs. Together, we can transform our democracy and succeed in our mission for fair representation.
Make Votes Matter has done big things over the last year. Last July, we organised the first demonstration for electoral reform since 2011. In February, we brought together politicians from across the political spectrum to discuss the path to PR at our Alliance Building Conference. We’ve written open letters to Jeremy Corbyn and the Government, set up local groups across the country and built an Alliance of parties, politicians, celebrities and organisations. This May, we gathered once again outside parliament to demand PR at the Demo for Democracy.
We’ve been able to do this so far because of the amazing work of volunteers, thousands of supporters contributing their time, and the generous donations of hundreds of individuals from all walks of life.
This summer, we want to take it up a gear.
- Deliver the programme of cross-party events we have planned, showcasing high profile speakers
- Broadcast our message on new platforms; offline, online and in the media
- Produce campaign materials for activists to take to the streets
- Train volunteers to inform people and spread our message
- Engage with new groups and individuals from across society
- Seed many more local Make Votes Matter groups around the country
- Step up our campaign to make PR Labour party policy
- Organise bigger and better demonstrations to demand proportional representation
- Work with all political parties to build an Alliance strong enough to get PR by 2021
What we need to do it
We’ve got the people, we’ve got the expertise and we’ve got the plan. Now we need the resources to make it happen.
We always make every effort to keep our campaigns and actions as low cost as possible, comparing multiple suppliers, negotiating discounts and using free products and services whenever possible. Until now, campaign work by the core team has all been voluntary, including one facilitator working full time on the campaign since last autumn, and another since late March - both have willingly been working for nothing to dedicate the time necessary to make the campaign a success. This of course isn’t sustainable (resources are running low) and we want to not only maintain but increase the momentum of the campaign.
To take our campaign to the next level and make our plans a reality this summer, we need the money to back them up, so we need your help.
How your money could be spent
- Website software for a month - £15
- 500 promotional postcards - £30
- Helping to set up a local group - £50
- Booking a stall at a local festival/event - £70
- Printing 1,500 educational leaflets - £100
- High volume mailing software for a month - £300
- A local ‘town hall’ style event inc. speakers' costs and equipment hire - £500
- Equipment hire for a major public event - £750
- One senior campaigner, on a living wage, for one month - £1,370
- Large demonstration in Parliament Square - £2,500
- High profile event, like the Alliance Building Conference - £4,200
Our Target for the Summer
We are aiming to raise £10,000 to take our campaign to the next level, making the case for proportional representation louder than ever before.
Other ways you can help
If you feel you are not able to contribute much financially, you can still help out by telling your friends or sharing this page on social media, following Make Votes Matter on Facebook and Twitter (@MakeVotesMatter) to stay up to date on our recent activity. You can also get involved with the campaign by joining our Facebook group here or signing our declaration here.