It is now possible to sign Owen's original petition if you haven't yet done so - it has over 240,000 signatures and Change.org has just invited him to update and reopen it as Proportional Representation is such a hot topic right now! 

The petition for voting reform

The story so far...

As Britain prepared to go to the polls, a 16 year-old started a petition...

On 4 May 2015, four days before the General Election, Owen Winter started a petition calling for a fairer, more proportional electoral system. In two weeks it had gathered well over 200,000 signatures, and 477,000 people had signed either this or the similar petitions started by Unlock Democracy and the Electoral Reform Society.

Representatives of the Lib Dems, Plaid Cymru, the Green Party, UKIP and the SNP came together to deliver this petition to No.10 Downing Street on 18 May 2015.

The government responded... with confusion...

In June 2015 the government formally responded to the half million signatories by conflating Proportional Representation with the not-at-all-proportional Alternative Vote system, which was rejected by referendum in 2011.

David Cameron with John Penrose, Parliamentary Secretary and Minister for Constitutional Reform

David Cameron with John Penrose, Parliamentary Secretary and Minister for Constitutional Reform

A movement emerged... and demanded the government's attention...

Following the Great Gathering for Voting Reform (July 2015), the formation of Make Votes Matter and the Alliance Building Conference (February 2016), Make Votes Matter wrote a letter, signed by over a thousand people, to John Penrose and David Cameron on behalf of the wider electoral reform movement.

                                                 Click the letter to see the full length version with 1,280 signatures and footnotes.

                                                 Click the letter to see the full length version with 1,280 signatures and footnotes.

Over six weeks later - on 13th April 2016 - John Penrose responded on behalf of the government elected into office by the votes of less than one quarter of the British electorate...

Between June 2015 and April 2016, the Minister responsible for electoral policy made modest but significant progress in distinguishing proportional and non-proportional voting systems.

                                                                                          Click image to see a larger copy of John Penrose's April 2016 letter.

                                                                                          Click image to see a larger copy of John Penrose's April 2016 letter.

Mr Penrose wrote this in a letter to the Guardian about those opposed to the introduction of single voter registration. His comment perfectly summarises the conclusion that people will reach about his own position on First Past the Post.

Mr Penrose wrote this in a letter to the Guardian about those opposed to the introduction of single voter registration. His comment perfectly summarises the conclusion that people will reach about his own position on First Past the Post.

Unfortunately the Minister still has not accepted, rejected or even acknowledged the severe problems with our current electoral system, as communicated to him by half a million petitioners in May 2015 and 1,280 activists in March 2016. Nor has he accepted their request for a meeting.

Undeterred, hundreds of people rallied at the Demo for Democracy on 7th May - the anniversary of the most disproportionate General Election in British History - and vowed to return every year for an annual Make Votes Matter Day until Proportional Representation and real democracy are won for us all.

And on 20th June 2016, Make Votes Matter sent a second open letter to John Penrose and David Cameron, signed by over 8,500 people from every major political party, to demand that he answers for the broken electoral system that he seems determined to maintain.