How Does a Woman Vote?

Images via Getty
Images via Getty

On Wednesday, Bernie babe Susan Sarandon told the BBC that she wouldn’t be voting for Hillary Clinton because, as she put it rather succinctly, “I don’t vote with my vagina.” But... what if she did?

Never mind that for all her bluster, Sarandon is actually planning on voting for a female presidential candidate, making it unclear exactly what role a vagina—the literal one or the metaphorical one—played or didn’t play in her endorsement of Jill Stein last week. But let’s say Sarandon actually wanted to use her vagina as a voting apparatus. Could she?

My first call was to the the New York City Board of Elections, where the woman who answered the phone interrupted me almost immediately after I finished saying the word “vagina.” She informed me, rather brusquely, that she was connecting me to a voicemail belonging to the head of communications and warned me she was very busy in a very long meeting. Then the line cut off.


Fairly sure I would not be getting a call back, I looked at New York’s Election Law for answers. The easiest way to vote with one’s vagina, naturally, is in the privacy of one’s own home, by way of an absentee ballot, which NY ELEC § 7–122 only proscribes must be filled out with a pen or pencil. I found no applicable case law governing which body parts may be used to manipulate the writing instrument.

Vagina voting on Election Day is a little harder. In New York City, where Sarandon lives, voting machines are required under § 7–202 to be covered “with a screen and hood or curtain or privacy features with equivalent function which shall be so made and adjusted as to conceal the voter and his or her action while voting.”

But these “privacy features” are relative terms, considering some of the suitcase-sized booths that’ll get you thrown out of the polls before you even get your pants off. New York City’s electoral board currently lists three types of voting machines—the ES&S DS200 Ballot Scanner, the ES&S AutoMARK, the Shoup Lever Machine—all of which present varying degrees of difficulty for the vagina voter. But the Shoup, with its large, red swinging lever and curtained booth, seems to present itself best to the task.

Photo of a man leaving a Shoup Lever Machine booth. Via AP.
Photo of a man leaving a Shoup Lever Machine booth. Via AP.

As you can see in this 2009 photograph of former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg exiting a lever machine booth, the voluminous curtains provide perfect cover for the female voter to comfortably hike her leg over the machine and use her kegel practice to manipulate the lever into position. Or at least I assume—I still don’t totally understand the mechanics of how Donald Trump was grabbing women by the voting hand, much less how this would work.

But, technically speaking, it could be done, regardless of what Susan Sarandon ultimately decides to vote with.

Former Gawker news editor

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Oh fuck off, Sarandon. A) It’s actually shitty and sexist if you to imply that women voting differently than you are doing so because their little lady brains can’t handle voting for a reason other than “that one has boobs too.”

And B) what is so wrong with “voting with your vagina,” i.e. prioritizing access to reproductive health services and protecting the rights of said vagina?

Of all the things to hate about this election (and there are so many) the Bernie bros and their faux moral smugness, as they threaten the rights of so many very real people with their protest voting, is right at the top of the list.