This election has shown once again that our voting system is broken beyond repair. It denies voters real choice, produces unfair results and delivers unrepresentative governments.
Let’s look at how our electoral system fails voters.
The new Parliament doesn’t reflect the way Britain voted.
The link between a party’s share of the vote and the seats they get in Parliament has broken down completely. The two biggest parties took two thirds of the vote, but received more than four fifths of the seats. The unfairness doesn’t stop there. Some smaller parties are favoured by the way our system works, while others are penalised: the SNP got 56 seats with 5% of the vote, while the Liberal Democrats got just 8 seats with 8% of the vote.
There was no real contest in more than half the seats
Almost half the population live in safe seats where one party is almost certain to win. The average seat has been represented by the same party continuously since the 1960s, and some much longer than that. Voters in safe seats don’t have any real chance to influence the outcome - only those in the minority of marginal seats where there is a real contest can affect the result of the election.
Our system encourages parties to ignore the views of the majority of the British public to focus on the handful of swing voters in marginal seats. Parties’ policies become ever more narrowly focused on the voters that matter in our electoral system. That is a recipe for unrepresentative government and a disaster for democracy.
Voters were forced to vote tactically rather than for who they really believe in
At this election, one in ten people said that they would be voting tactically for their second or third choice party because they had a chance to win, rather than voting for who they believed in.
That’s the result of a system which restricts voters’ choices. Newspapers produced ever more complicated guides to tactical voting in the run-up to polling day. A fair voting system would allow people to vote for who they believe in.
Join our call for a fair voting system
We believe that seats in Parliament should match the votes we cast. We believe whether your vote matters or not shouldn’t be a quirk of geography. We believe you should be able to vote for what you believe in.
That’s why we are campaigning for a fairer, more proportional voting system. We want a system which gives voters the opportunity to choose between different political parties and individual candidates - like open party lists or the single transferable vote. Voters, not political parties, should be in control.
It’s time for a fair voting system. Let’s make 2015 the last election where seats don’t match votes. Add your voice to our call to make votes count.