Voting by sex

Cohen,David dsc39 at
Tue Apr 22 08:15:23 PDT 2008



Voting this morning in Pennsylvania, I encountered what would probably
make a good fact pattern for an exam question.  In my district (and
maybe across the state), I had to vote not only for the Presidential
candidate I supported but separately for individual delegates to send to
the party convention.  I could vote for 7 delegates and was required to
vote for 4 men and 3 women.  (The ballot didn't identify any particular
candidate as M or F, and I don't know if it would have actually
prohibited me from voting for more men or women than was stated.)


I know nothing about the origins of this requirement or whether it's a
requirement everywhere, just in PA, or just in my district, but it seems
to raise interesting state action and sex discrimination questions.
Much would depend on the answers to these, and other, questions:  whose
requirement is this - the Democratic party or the state of Pennsyvlania?
is it a local requirement or a state/national requirement?  is it just a
suggestion or is it enforced?  if it's a requirement of the party itself
and is enforced, does the state enforce it for the Democratic party
through some ballot checking system?  if it's just a Democratic party
requirement (local, state, or national), does the fact that these
delegates serve only at the party convention and not in state office
differentiate this requirement from the White Primary cases?  on the sex
discrimination issue, is the origin of this requirement to balance out
the delegates based on sex?  what is the history of delegate imbalance?
how strict of a balance does the party require?  and on and on.


Anyone know more about this aspect of delegate voting and can shed some
light on it?




David S. Cohen

Associate Professor of Law

Drexel University College of Law

(215) 571-4714


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