Residents demand democracy in West Sussex

A tally of votes regarding Proportional Representation
A tally of votes regarding Proportional Representation

A campaign group in West Sussex organised a national day of action on Saturday (6th).

The Demand Democracy Day took place in more than 90 locations across the country, and has been described as the largest mobilisation for Proportional Representation in recent history.

Campaigners manning the stall

Campaigners manning the stall

Campaigners ran a street stall in Burgess Hill to show their support for the day, and had a petition for Nicholas Soames MP calling for First Past the Post to be replaced with Proportional Representation.

Bins were turned into First Past the Post ballot boxes to protest what organisers Make Votes Matter call an antiquated voting system.

Chairman of Make Votes Count In West Sussex, Anthony Tuffin of Selsey, added: “Britain is one of the few remaining democracies that don’t elect their MPs by some form of Proportional Representation, and the faults of First Past The Post are showing up much more now that there a four major parties, each with about 20 per cent of the votes.”

Make Votes Matter say democratic reform is just as urgent as, and needed to fix, issues like the global climate crisis.

Campaigners manning the stall

Campaigners manning the stall

They said the current voting system denies millions of people a voice in Parliament and forces millions more to vote tactically.

Tim Ivorson, who took part in the action, said: “Having lived in more than one West Sussex constituency, the difference between safe seats and marginal constituencies has been impossible for me to ignore. Even those lucky enough to live in marginal constituencies suffer dilemmas about tactical voting. We need Proportional Representation so that all votes count equally.”

An open letter and petition calling for Proportional Representation has been signed by Martin Childs from South East London Electoral Reform, Caroline Lucas, and Nigel Farage.

Emma Knaggs, Grassroots Leader at Make Votes Matter, added: “Our current voting system means millions of votes effectively go straight in the dustbin. That’s what campaigners highlighted during Demand Democracy Day by turning litter bins into First Past the Post ballot boxes; it’s a simple way to draw attention to how rubbish this system is.

“Make Votes Matter is calling for First Past the Post to be replaced by a form of Proportional Representation, so seats match votes and all votes count equally. Everyone’s voice should be heard in general elections, so we encourage people to vote and to demand a system that makes every vote matter.”

For more information, and to join the campaign, visit www.makevotesmatter.org.uk and visit Make Votes Count In West Sussex’s Facebook page for information about the local county group and its campaign.