Electoral Reform Society History & Goverance

Electoral Reform Society History & Goverance
Electoral Reform Society


For over 100 years the Electoral Reform Society has been fighting for fairer votes and a better democracy.

First known as the Proportional Representation Society, the Society was established in 1884 by the Victorian naturalist, archaeologist and polymath Sir John Lubbock to bring likeminded people to the cause of fair votes.

I trust that Great Britain, the mother of Parliaments, may once more take the lead among the great nations of the world by securing for herself a House of Commons which shall really represent the nation.
Society founder Sir John Lubbock, 1884

First gathering at 7 Clarges Street, Westminster, the group quickly snowballed, its founding members drawn from academia, the legal profession and 180 MPs, drawn in equal numbers from the Liberal and Conservative parties.

They were quickly joined by leading luminaries including C.P. Scott, editor of the Manchester Guardian (now The Guardian), the Rev. Charles Dodgson (better known as Lewis Carroll), and Thomas Hare (the inventor of the Single Transferable Vote).

Since its creation the Society has been at the forefront of political reform in Britain. Renamed the Electoral Reform Society in 1958, it is the world’s oldest organisation concerned with elections and political reform.

The Society has kept political reform on the agenda in fair years and foul, and in 1983 the Society was recognised by the United Nations Economic and Social Council as a Non-Governmental Organisation with Consultative Status.

Our members continue to pursue Lubbock’s mission to secure “a fair and just system of voting” – at Westminster and beyond.

The Society is governed by its Council, democratically elected by its members under the Single Transferable Vote.

The Society is governed by a Governing Council made up of 15 people who are democratically elected by our members under the Single Transferable Vote.

On 14 July 2012, the Society voted to renew its constitution and to adopt a refreshed set of Articles of Association and Byelaws.

We received a record number of votes by proxy from our members in advance of the General Meeting held on 14th July. The meeting itself was well-attended and provided an opportunity for members to debate the new provisions and to cast their vote in person.

The final result was a 78.7% majority in favour of adopting the new documents. Thank you to all members who took part!

The new documents were introduced with immediate effect and can be found below.

Articles of Association & Byelaws


The Society is a membership organisation with over 5,000 individuals representing all political parties and none. Members help to shape the organisation and determine its direction and future work as well as taking an active role in the Society’s campaigning activities. Members are also responsible for electing the Society’s Council.

The Council

The Council is the governing body of the Society, with ultimate responsibility for its governance and strategic direction. The Council consists of 15 directors, elected every other year by STV. All ERS members (other than members who are also members of staff) are allowed to stand for election to Council.

Members of the Council elect five Officers (Chair, Vice Chair (Management), Treasurer, Deputy Chair (Group Relations) and Deputy Chair (Campaigns and Research), who have particular areas of strategic focus.

The Council meets six times a year, working with the Senior Management Team to make decisions on policy, strategy and governance issues.

See full website – http://www.electoral-reform.org.uk/