Tag Archives: Fairer Votes

The answer is AV. The answer is YES!

1 May

Join the Mullans in 7 days and say #Yes2AV

28 Apr

It is just seven days until the polls open and among other things we get a chance to change the way we elect our MPs. Ordinary voters all across Northern Ireland will be turning out to say Yes! people like the Mullan family from Portrush.

The Mullans preparing to say Yes! next Thursday

The Mullans may be voting in different ways on their ballot papers for the Assembly and Council elections next Thursday, but they agree on how they will vote on the AV referendum.

“We’re from different political persuasions, but we’re united in the belief that the current system needs reform.  We need to make the system to elect MPs fairer.  That is why we are supporting YES!

“At the last election, only three Northern Ireland MPs were elected on over 50% of the vote.  This means that far too many of our voices aren’t counted, something which a YES! vote will change.  It’s also easy to use, we’re already used to preferential voting here in NI, it’s as simple as 1,2,3.

“By voting YES! we will be giving ourselves a stronger voice in elections, because if your favourite doesn’t win, you can still have a say in who does – no more all or nothing.  It’s a small, progressive change which will lead to a big difference to our politics.”

Why not join with the Mullans and thousands of others in Northern Ireland and say Yes! next Thursday, 5th May. Polls are open from 7am until 10 pm.

Remember to vote in Northern Ireland you need to take your ID with you on polling day

  • A UK, Irish or EEA driving licence (photographic part)
  • A UK, Irish or EU passport
  • An electoral identity card
  • A Translink Senior SmartPass
  • A Translink 60+ SmartPass
  • A Translink War Disabled SmartPass
  • A Translink Blind Person’s SmartPass

Release: Rathlin says YES! to fairer votes

28 Mar

The Harbour, Rathlin Island

Rathlin says Yes! to Fairer Votes

Rathlin Islanders welcomed the YES to fairer votes campaign to their shores. The campaign spent a day talking to voters across the island about the upcoming referendum on 5th May.

The islanders had recently rallied around to secure the island’s ballot box so that they could continue to vote on the island. The residents are well aware that every vote matters and want their voice to be heard.

Stephen Glenn, campaign organiser for NI said: “Everyone I spoke to today said they wanted politicians to work harder to get elected. They want their vote to count and their voice to be heard. That’s exactly what the new Alternative Vote system will do. Rathlin Islanders have just as much right to be heard and we’re taking this campaign all across NI.”

Every vote counts from Rathlin and beyond


Community Organiser Laura Hawthorne on the ferry to Rathlin

Billy Bragg wants Northern Ireland to say Yes!

25 Feb
Billy Bragg with Stephen and Laura

Billy Bragg meets Yes! Campaign Team backstage at the Crescent Arts Centre

This week Billy Bragg has been in Belfast for the Belfast Nashville Songwriters’ Festival but performing and carrying out a workshop. The musician and songwriter always well known for his political stances is one of the Yes! to Fairer Votes campaign vice chairs. Northern Ireland Organiser Stephen Glenn and Community Organiser Laura Hawthorne went along to meet him at the Crescent Arts Centre and get him to give a message to the people of Northern Ireland.

Why is Billy so keen to see a change in the way we vote in Westminster elections? He says:

“One of the worst aspects of our current voting system is the existence of so many ‘safe seats’, where the same party gets elected time and time again on a minority of votes, a phenomenon that undermines voter participation. Alternative Vote will challenge the safely seated MPs to get off their bums and start seeking the votes of the majority of voters in their constituency, forcing them to reach out beyond their natural supporters.”

In Belfast and throughout Northern Ireland we are hoping that our MPs do start to reach out beyond their natural supporters. That would mean that we are starting to have an existence that truly is shared. So if you want your MP to work harder and get off their “bums” to seek your vote, stand up say Yes! and get others to do so on 5 May. Contact us to out how you can get involved.

Here are a few words from Billy.

Why I’m Backing Fairer Votes? – Stephen Glenn NI Organiser

9 Dec

Stephen Glenn out campaigning for Fairer Votes

As I am heading up the campaign for Fairer Votes here in Northern Ireland I thought it was only fair to let you know my story as to why I feel strongly about this issue.


Back in late 1985-6 we had the mass resignation of Unionist MPs across Northern Ireland and the subsequent by elections in opposition to the Anglo-Irish Agreement.

The bulk of January found me off school on study leave for my mock exams, which is why on one Wednesday morning I found myself in Bangor’s market. Through the mêlée I suddenly found myself facing the rather familiar figure of one of Northern Ireland’s leading politicians, alongside the local recently resigned MP and then mere Unionist candidate for North Down Jim Kilfedder. A familiar voice then asked me:

“Young man, can Jim here rely on your vote on January 23rd?”

I replied:


Then seeing a startled look on both politicians faces expanded with:

“I don’t think I should vote for something or someone I don’t believe in, and I don’t believe that what you have done is correct. So if I were old enough to vote on the 23rd, I would not be voting for Mr Kilfedder.”

Being only 16 at the time and studying for my O’levels it was quite a brave response to Ian Paisley. But it was something that once I had the vote was something I have always stuck to. In each general election that I have voted in since that date I have gone to vote and placed an ‘X’ my only allowed mark next to the candidate that has most closely matched what I believe in. Sadly not once what that vote elected a member to Parliament, nor has it even gone to the person in second place.

Does it mean my views are any less valid that the many people who do get a say in the handful of close contests across the country? In my opinion yes. In the six Westminster elections I have voted in three have been tight races for the top spot, one involved 3 candidates none of whom were the candidate I voted for. Not one of the winners in those races had a majority of the voters backing them.

So half the time I have voted in Westminster elections people around me have been some of the few thousand who get to make a decision about how our country is run. Sadly the only way I could have done that would have been to vote, not for who and what I believe in but for whichever of the front-runners was least bad.

For the other half of the time I have voted in a constituency where the MP has what is pretty much a job for life. They may not necessarily have over 50% of the people voting for them but enough more than anyone else that there is no clear competition for their place. This can lead to the MP not giving all that they can do for all the people that they represent, because they only have to do enough to not upset those that are going to vote for them anyway.

AV will make your MPs work harder to get and keep their jobs. It will do away with the dilemma of do you have to vote tactically and not for who you believe in with you first preference. It will also go some way to tackling the jobs for life culture as it will shake more of our MPs out of complacency.

Join me in making sure that the people of Northern Ireland Vote Yes in May. Go to the Yes to Fairer Votes website and sign up to help. If you can spare an hour or two (or even more on a regular basis) either before Christmas on in the New Year make sure you sign up for the phonebank, and get involved telling people why you too want to see fairer votes for Westminster.

I look forward to hearing from and seeing you help out on this campaign for a small change that can make a big difference.

Enniskillen day trip – 27 November 2010

22 Nov

We’re off to Enniskillen for the day on Saturday 27 November.

With only four votes between the winner and the runner up in the Westminster Election just past in May, Fermanagh & South Tyrone is the one of the closest fought seats in the UK.

"unionist unity" candidate Rodney Connor

Michelle Gildernew MP, Sinn Fein

With 45.5% of people voting for both the Independent candidate Rodney Connor and for Sinn Féin’s Michelle Gildernew, the result was very very close.

By using AV, this would not be the case – so we’re going to carry out a sample of people in the town to show what could have happened if we had used the Alternative Vote system in this year’s election. Please come along to help.

Sign up to help by clicking here.

Northern Ireland campaign kickstarts this weekend

4 Nov

Margaret Ritchie MP MLA

Following the appointment of Stephen Glenn a well-seasoned activist as Campaign Manager for Northern Ireland, the Yes to Fairer Votes campaign here will be get off to a start with him and another of his team attending the SDLP‘s conference this weekend.


Margaret Ritchie MP MLA has stated that her party will

campaign vigorously in favour of progressive electoral reform

We look forward to working with Margaret and all those in favour of modern, progressive, reform of the electoral system.

Watch out for us on Saturday!