British democracy activists turn waste bins into ballot boxes

Electoral reform activists turned litter bins into mock ballot boxes on Saturday to highlight their claim that most votes in British elections are wasted.

Make Votes Matter organised a nationwide Demand Democracy Day, calling for “mass action to show and build support for proportional representation in general elections.”

Activists joined events in London, Cardiff and other towns and cities across Britain, urging supporters to petition their local lawmakers to back reform of Britain’s first-past-the-post, constituency-based electoral system, which has been used in its current form since 1950.

Opinion polls this week suggested that support has plummeted for Britain’s two biggest political parties, Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservatives and the main opposition Labour, and shifted to the resurgent anti-Brexit Liberal Democrats and to veteran eurosceptic Nigel Farage’s new Brexit Party.

“We are now a multi-party democracy operating under a broken, one-person-takes-all voting system,” Jess Blair of the Electoral Reform Society had said on Thursday.

In the last general election in 2017, about 68 per cent of voters “didn’t play an active role in the decision of the outcome because they either were for losing candidates or they were for winning candidates who didn’t need that many votes,” Darren Hughes, head of the society, told dpa last month.

The shortcomings of the electoral system will be magnified by the Conservatives’ appointment of a new prime minister without any public vote later this month, after May agreed to step down over her failure to withdraw Britain from the European Union. (dpa/NAN)

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