Activists will turn litter bins into “First Past the Post ballot boxes” across the UK this Saturday in protest of the UK’s voting system.
“Demand Democracy Day”, organised by campaign group Make Votes Matter, will take place in around a hundred locations from Ramsgate to Belfast. Campaigners will also run street stalls and invite the public to sign a petition to their local MP.
Campaigners say the current voting system means most votes are “wasted”, with 68% of votes in the last general election having no impact on the result.
Emma Knaggs, Grassroots Leader at Make Votes Matter, said: “First Past the Post means millions of votes effectively go straight in the dustbin. We’re going to be drawing attention to how rubbish this system is - and calling for it 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.”
The action comes days after Make Votes Matter announced an unprecedented cross-party pact to change the voting system. Parties spanning the entire political spectrum have joined Labour, Conservative and Independent MPs in signing the Good Systems Agreement. The agreement set out the principles that a reformed voting system should deliver and called for a citizens’ assembly to recommend a new system for the UK.
The UK is the only country in Europe - and one of only three major democratic developed countries - to use First Past the Post for general elections. Campaigners point out that the system means Parliament does not reflect the votes cast, shutting millions out of politics, and forcing many more to vote tactically.