Monthly Archives: September 2014

Electoral Reform Society AGM de-brief

On 13/09/14 I attended the Electoral Reform Society’s AGM to represent and debate our policy proposal, that the ERS start campaigning for a bona fide ‘None of the Above’ option with formalised consequences to be added to UK ballot papers for all future elections.

Needless to say, it was predictably frustrating. Out of a five hour day, only 40 mins were set aside for debating the nine policy proposals put forward by members, including ours. A token gesture, lip service, nothing more. A number of people complained about this, myself included.

I got less than a minute to talk about NOTA and then less than a minute to respond to one reasonable question about blank votes from a younger ERS member and three logical fallacy based objections from older members who evidently don’t understand what NOTA is.

But then again, why would they? I was given no time to speak and the society’s formal recommendation to reject the proposal was itself based on a number of clear and demonstrable logical fallacies and blanket misrepresentations of NOTA. (A point by point take-down of their recommendation to reject can be viewed here: https://nota-uk.org/2014/08/30/nota-uks-policy-proposal-to-be-debated-by-ers-at-their-agm/ )

It’s almost as though the upper echelons of ERS don’t want a fair and open debate on anything they have already decided they’re not interested in – like genuine, achievable electoral reform…

The only upside was that there is obviously a split in the ERS on this issue, even on the council, as a council member slipped me a note with an email address wanting to stay in touch as, apparently, some members are very interested in NOTA and want to help in the future. All the younger members I spoke to afterwards knew where I was coming from and were very supportive. I made sure to leave a few copies of our evidence submission to the parliamentary select committee looking into ‘voter engagement’ with all the info that I’d not been allowed to present. (See here: http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/WrittenEvidence.svc/EvidenceHtml/7985 )

In the end, the vote on our NOTA proposal was 92 for, 128 against with 19 abstaining. There were nowhere near that many people in the room so we must have got a fair few postal/proxy votes. So not a bad showing at all really, all things considered. Thanks to everyone who took the time to send in their votes in favour.

I never expected to win the vote, the odds were always stacked against us. But it matters not, for me it was more about making our presence felt and making connections. We are still making the solid and indisputable case for NOTA and will continue to. Slowly but surely we are getting heard above all the noise and chatter.

Onwards & Upwards!

FOOTNOTE: The first of our four part video series is nearly ready and will be published soon, so keep an eye out for that!

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How to support NOTA by proxy at this years Electoral Reform Society AGM

NOTA UK ( https://nota-uk.org/ ) has tabled a policy motion for consideration at this year’s AGM of the Electoral Reform Society (ERS).

The motion tabled is: “The ERS should actively advocate the inclusion of a ‘None of the Above’ option that will require a new election to be called if more than 50% of ballots cast choose that option.”

If we act together we have a real chance of persuading the ERS to start officially campaigning for a ‘None of the Above’ option with teeth on UK ballot papers. NOTA is something that is long overdue in the UK and essential in any true democracy.

The ERS is the most influential electoral reform advocacy group in the UK and having them adopt NOTA will boost our cause substantially. At last year’s AGM the total number of votes per motion tabled was around 250 each. Our facebook group alone has the ability to get the motion carried if we act now and get our postal/proxy votes in on time.

Your postal/proxy vote needs to reach the Electoral Reform society by 10am on 11th September 2014. So there is still enough time to make a substantial impact if we act quickly!

All you need to do to vote is to join the ERS for as little as £1. Go to this link to join: https://electoral-reform.netdonor.net/ea-action/action…

The AGM booklet and proxy/postal voting form will be sent to you, it is also available for download from our facebook group via this link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/notauk/10152221477846986/

Be sure to send the completed form to: Electoral Reform Services, FREEPOST ND6352, London N1 1BR, to arrive no later than 10.00 am on Thursday 11 September 2014.

Jamie Stanley and Alexander Scott will be attending the meeting on behalf of NOTA UK so you can nominate either of us to be your proxy voter on the form. Alternatively leave that part of the form blank if you trust the chair of the meeting to act on your behalf.

Nothing will change in UK politics until it is possible to withhold consent in a meaningful, registered way. This is an excellent opportunity for all those who understand this truth to have their voices heard.

Please take a few minutes of your day to help can get this motion carried and push forward our campaign to get the democratic pre-requisite of NOTA on the UK ballot paper. Many thanks in advance.