In 2001, “The Edah Journal” ran what it said was the first publication in English of a 1920 responsum (opinion on Jewish law) regarding women’s electoral rights by Rav BenZion Meir Hai Uziel, who was Sephardic chief rabbi of Jaffa (Tel Aviv) when he wrote this responsum and later served as the first chief Sephardic rabbi of the State of Israel.
In discussing women’s suffrage from a halachic standpoint, Rabbi Uziel also wrote about issues that were apparently inconceivable then but which, incredibly, actually do plague us today (italics added by YP):
But perhaps this [women voting] should be prohibited because of licentiousness?
But what licentiousness can there be in this,
that each person goes to the poll and enters his voting
slip? If we start considering such activities as licentious,
no creature would be able to survive! Women and men
would be prohibited from walking in the street, or from
entering a shop together; it would be forbidden to negotiate
in commerce with a woman, lest this encourage
closeness and lead to licentiousness. Such ideas have never
been suggested by anyone.
Until now, that is.