On Elections

How people elect parliaments

Advocacy organisations and campaigns


Proportional Representation Society of Australia: (PRSA) an Australian NGO and long-term advocate for the single transferable vote (STV) voting system and other aspects of elections in Australia. The Society’s current national Constitution came into effect in 1982, but its forerunner organisations date from the 19th Century. In South Australia, Catherine Spence began campaigning for ‘effective voting’ – i.e. STV – as early as 1861. The Society operates through branches in most of the Australian states and the Australian Capital Territory. See also the separate websites for Effective Voting (the Electoral Reform Society of South Australia, a PRSA state branch) and Electoral Reform Australia (the New South Wales branch).


AEI/Brookings Election Reform Project: An alliance project of the American Enterprise Institute and the Brookings Institution, active from 2005 to 2010, focussing on administrative, voter registration and practical problems in electoral administration in the US system. The project had only a tangential focus on voting methods.

Brennan Center for Justice: a centre at New York University Law School; a public policy and law institute focused on issues involving democracy and justice. The Center is “dedicated to strengthening democracy and securing justice, through law, scholarship, education and advocacy”, and engages in advocacy related to campaign regulation, campaign finance, enfranchisement and voting systems.

Coalition for Free and Open Elections: a US NGO, advocating primarily for reform of ballot access restrictions against minor party and independent candidacies.

Committee for Ranked Choice Voting: campaign organisation in the state of Maine, active especially in relation to the constitutional amendment initiative in 2016 at which Maine voters approved a shift of the state’s electoral system to preferential (ranked choice) voting.

Fair Elections Project, a Wisconsin advocacy group focused on legal challenges to gerrymandering in state and congressional electoral district boundaries within the state, including the key Gill v Whitford litigation.

FairVote: formerly the Centre for Voting and Democracy, a major United States NGO promoting proportional representation. From its website: “FairVote advances systemic electoral reform to achieve a fully participatory and truly representative democracy that respects every vote and every voice in every election. We work toward these goals by providing advocates with innovative research and reform strategy. We promote ranked choice voting (“instant runoff”), a constitutionally protected right to vote, a national popular vote for president, and, most fundamentally, fair representation voting forms of proportional representation.”

FairVote Minnesota: US electoral reform campaign active in the state of Minnesota, focused primarily on the introduction of preferential voting (or ‘ranked choice voting’ in US terminology) for the state’s single-member divisions for legislative and congressional elections.

Freedom House: an international NGO based in Washington, D.C. that conducts research and advocacy on democracy, political freedom and human rights around the world. Freedom House publishes an annual Freedom in the World reports assessing the degree of perceived democratic freedoms in each country.

National Endowment for Democracy: a US NGO. Publishes the Journal of the National Endowment for Democracy.

Proportional Representation Foundation: a US NGO promoting proportional electoral systems. It went inactive in 2011 but the blog is still online as of July 2015.


Electoral Reform Society of Great Britain and Ireland: (ERS); an advocacy group first established by Sir John Lubbock in 1884, and prominent in many electoral reform movements. Originally named the Proportional Representation Society of Great Britain and Ireland, the Society was renamed the Electoral Reform Society in 1959, as it was felt that the original name was “too liable to suggest a connection with the continental party list systems”. Notable for consistent advocacy for the STV electoral system.

Labour Campaign for Electoral Reform: (LCER); a movement within the British Labour Party aimed at making it party policy to implement some form of proportional representation for national elections in the UK.

Making Votes Matter: a UK electoral reform NGO established in 2016 to campaign for proportional representation in British elections, specifically focussed on changing the system for electing the House of Commons to one using the single transferable vote (STV), seat allocation (party list) or mixed-member proportional (MMP or British AMS).

McDougall Trust: a charitable trust formed in 1948 from support provided by businessman Sir Robert McDougall. The charity’s purposes are to advance knowledge of and encourage the study of and research into (i) political or economic science and functions of government and the services provided to the community by public and voluntary organisations, and (ii) methods of election of and the selection and government of representative organisations whether national, civic, commercial, industrial or social. The Trust’s work includes the maintenance and development of the Lakeman Library for Electoral Studies, and the production and publication of Representation: The Journal of Representative Democracy dealing with electoral matters and related political studies. The Trust has also facilitates the publication of the Voting Matters, an occasional technical publication focussing on the technicalities of electoral systems, in particular the preferential voting systems (including STV).


Fair Vote Canada: a Canadian NGO advocating for the introduction of proportional representation systems, open to either STV, party list seat allocation or MMP systems.

Fairvoting BC: British Columbia NGO, originally focussed on campaigning for the 2009 provincial referendum on adopting the STV voting system. Now advocating for ‘fair voting’ across a range of aspects, including electoral system reform towards proportional representation but also transparency issues such as campaign financing and disclosure rules.

Foundation for Democratic Advancement: an international non-partisan, non-profit organization based in Canada. The FDA’s mission is to advance fair and transparent democratic processes by “performing detailed electoral audits on political candidates and parties to inform the public, objectively and impartially, about their electoral choices”. The FDA also audits electoral legislation in terms of fairness and equity, and “conducts ground level assessments of democratic processes and reform”. The FDA also produces comparative reports on standards for electoral fairness and representativeness.

Make Every Vote Count – FairVote Vancouver: campaign and advocacy site established by the Vancouver branch of FairVote Canada, focused on electoral issues in British Columbia.

OpenSTV – site hosting the Open STV vote counting software (for methods such as alternative vote, STV, instant runogg, and pairwise comparisons).

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