Online PR Resources
- General PR Resources
Electoral Reform Society
“Fairshare is a cross-party organisation campaigning for the introduction of the Single Transferable Vote (STV) system of proportional representation for Scottish local elections.”
FairVote is probably the most visible advocate of electoral reform in the United States. In their own words,
FairVote acts to transform our elections to achieve universal access to participation, a full spectrum of meaningful ballot choices and majority rule with fair representation for all. As a catalyst for change, we build support for innovative strategies to win a constitutionally protected right to vote, universal voter registration, a national popular vote for president, instant runoff voting and proportional representation.
As a reform catalyst, FairVote develops and promotes practical strategies to improve elections at the local, state and national levels. Our vision of an equally secure, meaningful and effective vote for all Americans is founded on the principles articulated in the Declaration of Independence, Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech: we are created equal, government is of, by and for the people and it is time to make real the promise of democracy.
FairVote lists a number of associated state organizations:
Fair Vote Canada
“Fair Vote Canada is a multi-partisan national citizens campaign promoting fair voting systems for use in elections at all levels.”
Proportional Representation Society of Australia
Green Party of the United States
The GPUS 2004 platform includes strong support for PR.
- We recognize individual empowerment, full citizen participation, and proportional representation as the foundation of an effective and pluralistic democracy.
- We demand choices in our political system. This can be accomplished by proportional representation voting systems such as
- Choice Voting (candidate-based),
- Mixed Member Voting (combines with district representation), and
- Party List (party based);
and semi-proportional voting systems such as
- Limited Voting, and
- Cumulative Voting.
All are used throughout the free world and by U.S. businesses, and community and non-profit groups to increase democratic representation. We call on local governments to lead the way toward more electoral choice and broader representation.
- We believe in majority rule and reject the present method of election without a majority. Accordingly, we call for the use of Instant Runoff Voting in chief executive races, (mayor, governor, president, etc.) where voters can rank their favorite candidates (1,2,3, etc.) to guarantee that the winner has majority support and that voters are not relegated to choosing between the lesser of two evils.
- We believe in multi-party democracy for partisan elections as the best way to guarantee majority rule, since more people will have representation at the table where policy is enacted. We assert that introduction of a multi-party democracy is essential because
- The change in the structure of electoral politics will moderate the influence of extremist views and domination by the larger parties, and offer more fair representation to a greater number of citizens; and
- A third party can validate and raise other points of view that need to be heard.
In 2002, the Libertarian Party adopted a platform with explicit support for proportional representation.
Electoral systems matter. The predominant use of ‘winner-take-all’ elections in gerrymandered, single-member districts fosters political monopolies and creates a substantial government-imposed barrier to election of non-incumbent political parties and candidates. We propose electoral systems that are more representative of the electorate at the federal, state, and local levels, such as proportional voting systems with multi-member districts for legislative elections and instant runoff voting (IRV) for single winner elections.
The 2008 Libertarian national platform includes somewhat less specific language.
We support electoral systems that are more representative of the electorate at the federal, state and local levels.
General PR Resources
ACE Electoral Knowledge Network
IFES Election Guide
ElectionGuide provides timely and accurate information on:
- National elections around the world, and other electoral events deemed of high interest
- Political parties and candidates
- Referenda provisions
- Breaking news on election-related laws and political developments around the world
- Governmental and electoral structures
- Election results and voter turnout
John Cleese explains PR
In a 10-minute video from 1985, Monty Python’s John Cleese explains the rationale for proportional representation, and STV in particular. The video was made on behalf of the UK Liberal Party in the wake of the 1983 parliamentary election, in which the Conservative, Labour and Liberal (in alliance with the SDP) received 42%, 28% and 26% of the vote, respectively, and won 397, 209 and 23(!) seats. “This is ludicrous,” says Cleese, “or, as children would say, ‘Not fair!’”
Cleese does a remarkably good job of laying out the rationale for PR, explaining its benefits, and refuting its critics.
Douglas Amy’s comprehensive PR Library has not been updated recently, but it still contains a wealth of information and links to still more information on PR. Here is a partial list of articles:
- “Should I Be Interested in Proportional Representation?” A very quick political quiz to see if proportional representation addresses some of your political concerns about American elections.
- “What are Voting Systems and Why are They Important?” A basic description of what a voting system is, along with a short discussion of the important political impacts that these systems can have.
- “What is Proportional Representation and Why Do We Need this Reform?” Essential reading. Explains how PR would cure some of the serious shortcoming of American elections, and exactly why it is superior to our current voting system.
- “How Does PR Work?” A brief explanation of how various forms of PR work, illustrated with ballots.
- “How Can I Help to Promote PR?” Some ideas for how you can get involved in encouraging this political reform.
- “Types of Voting Systems.” A brief survey of the full range of available voting systems, including plurality-majority systems, proportional systems, and semiproportional systems.
- Glossary of Terms. Some special terminology is used in the discussion of and analysis of voting systems. If you come across in your readings a term you don’t understand, look it up here.