Primary Voters in New York, Wisconsin, and More Rebuke Biden With Uncommitted Votes Over Gaza


Sensitive content warning: This article contains descriptions of violence, warfare, and death.

In a recent interview on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton affirmed her view that the 2024 election is about Joe Biden and Donald Trump, and that’s it. But the April 2 primary elections in Wisconsin, New York, Rhode Island and Connecticut indicate that many voters feel otherwise.

All four states saw serious campaigns to deny support to Biden in the primaries, largely over the continued U.S. support for the Israeli military’s onslaught in Gaza, where the Gaza Health Ministry reports the current death toll is reportedly nearing 33,000.

“The White House has changed its rhetoric on the war to where it should have been since the start, but they are still failing to demonstrate a meaningful policy shift when it comes to weapons and funding,” Abbas Alawieh, a representative for the national uncommitted campaign, told Reuters in advance of Tuesday’s elections.

After launching in late March, the “Uninstructed” campaign in Wisconsin set a goal of 20,000 votes — the margin by which Biden won the state in 2020. Before Tuesday came to a close, they’d surpassed that number; as of Wednesday morning, nearly 48,000 Wisconsin voters — over 8% of the Democratic primary votes tallied so far — chose “Uninstructed.” Biden won the primary itself, but NPR nonetheless describes the campaign as sending “a strong message on the war in Gaza.”

“We don’t want lip service and we’re done with games,” Listen to Wisconsin organizer Janan Najeeb told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. “We want unhindered and complete access to all humanitarian aid, including clean water, food, medical supplies, and equipment for Palestinians. We want the release of all hostages.”

In New York, where there was no uncommitted option, organizers ran a campaign for voters to submit blank ballots, backed by the Democratic Socialists of America and the Working Families Party. One preliminary count found that 12% of New York state voters left their ballots blank in the Democratic primary. In Connecticut, the uncommitted vote hit about 14%. And in Rhode Island, 16% of the votes in the Democratic primary went to “uncommitted”; journalist Daniel Denvir noted over 30% of Democratic primary voters in Providence voted “uncommitted” with about 90% of the vote reported.

These states join “uncommitted” or other protest vote campaigns that have occurred throughout the 2024 presidential primaries in swing states like Michigan, Arizona, and North Carolina, as well as Minnesota, Massachusetts, Hawaii, and Washington. While Wisconsin’s “uninstructed” campaign didn’t net any delegates for the August Democratic National Convention, the movement has gained at least 26 DNC delegates across states.

Teen Vogue reached out to the Biden campaign for comment. Asked about the “uncommitted” movement by ABC News in advance of Tuesday’s elections, Biden spokesperson Lauren Hitt said, “The President believes making your voice heard and participating in our democracy is fundamental to who we are as Americans. He shares the goal for an end to the violence and a just, lasting peace in the Middle East.”

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Tags: biden, election 2024, elections, gaza, israel, palestine, voting

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