Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Pick Three: PA Voters Choose Delegates Based on Sex

I was surprised and a bit confused by this account, from a Feminist Law Professor, of how Pennsylvania voters chose their delegates this morning, delegates that will likely be deciding who our candidate will be at the Democratic Convention:

When I voted this morning, after choosing who I wanted for the Democratic Presidential nominee, I also had to vote for individual delegates for my district to send to the convention. I had to vote for 7 out of a group of 12.

What was interesting about voting for the individual delegates was that we were required to vote for 4 men and 3 women. If I had wanted to vote for a 4th woman or a 5th man, I wasn’t allowed to because of this sex-based voting requirement... I don’t know if this is a local rule or if this is true for all individual delegate voting (in PA or across the country), but it struck me as quite odd, although interesting legally. [Emphasis mine]

Yeah, locking voters into choosing 4 men and 3 women no matter who the delegates have decided to support, should it come to a second round of votes, is pretty odd. Can anyone explain?

UPDATE: Caitlin E. Borgmann of Reproductive Rights Prof Blog has done the research to answer the above question, and explains:

According to the PA Democratic Party website (click on Selection Plan Summary), it seems that the system is designed to ensure a (virtually) even split among male and female delegates (although I should note that there is an uneven total number, with 52 slots reserved for male delegates and 51 for female). So, depending on which district a voter is in, she may be required to vote for more female or more male delegates.

You can read the whole post here. Yet, I'm still left with one question - why did the odd spot go to a guy, huh?

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