U.S. President Joe Biden speaks in Raleigh, North Carolina, on January 18, 2024.

(Photo: Peter Zay/Anadolu via Getty Images)

NH Voters to Pressure Biden With 'Cease-Fire' Write-In on Primary Ballots

"The problem is the Democratic Party only cares about their votes, and that's why we need to take this to the polls."

With less than a week until New Hampshire's presidential primary on January 23, critics of U.S. support for Israel's war on Gaza are urging voters in the state to put "cease-fire" on the write-in portion of their ballots rather than Democratic President Joe Biden.

Because of a battle between the Democratic National Committee and New Hampshire leaders, Biden opted to keep his name off the ballot, which will include longshot challengers U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.) and Marianne Williamson. However, some of the president's supporters have been encouraging voters to write in his name next Tuesday.

The Vote Cease-Fire campaign "arose organically in recent weeks after a University of New Hampshire professor and former elected official, Andru Volinsky, floated the idea in a letter to the editor," NBC News' Alex Seitz-Wald reported earlier this week.

Volinsky—who was previously elected to the New Hampshire Executive Council and ran for the Democratic Party's gubernatorial nomination in 2020—explained in the Concord Monitor that writing in cease-fire "is not an endorsement of the violence that occurred on October 7th, nor an effort to undermine the president. It is a matter of using the agency that the primary affords me to vote my conscience."

"My concern is with Israel's annihilation of Palestinians in Gaza and this administration's support of that misguided and monstrous effort."

"I would like President Biden to do well in the general election," he wrote. "My concern is with Israel's annihilation of Palestinians in Gaza and this administration's support of that misguided and monstrous effort. The U.S. is not doing all it can to end the killing of innocent civilians and the complete destruction of hospitals and other infrastructure. The level of destruction makes me wonder if this is about chasing terrorists or making Gaza unlivable."

The United States gives Israel $3.8 billion in military aid annually. Since the Hamas-led attack on October 7, Biden has asked Congress for another $14.3 billion, repeatedly bypassed federal lawmakers to arm the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), and publicly cast doubt on the death toll in Gaza. His administration has also vetoed, voted against, and watered down related United Nations resolutions. The U.S. position has provoked protests in Washington, D.C. and across the country.

"We have tried to make our voices heard in Washington. We have been ignored," said New Hampshire community organizer Morgan Brown during a Wednesday press conference about the cease-fire campaign, according toThe Boston Globe.

"The problem is the Democratic Party only cares about their votes, and that's why we need to take this to the polls," Brown added. "But what I want on my ballot simply is not there. I want a cease-fire."

Organizers like Brown "have been fielding calls from across the state and around the country," The Nation's John Nichols reported Thursday. "They're spreading the word on social media and distributing signs that urge voters to take a pen to the polls and register their discontent with the administration's support of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the brutal assault on Gaza that has left more than 24,000 Palestinians dead, severely wounded tens of thousands, and displaced an estimated 1.9 million men, women, and children."

Biden's public criticism of the IDF killing and injuring tens of thousands of Palestinians has been limited. Last month he called out Israel's "indiscriminate bombing" and said that "I want them to be focused on how to save civilian lives. Not stop going after Hamas, but be more careful." Meanwhile, Netanyahu on Thursday forcefully rejected the "two-state solution" favored by the U.S. administration, saying that after the war on Gaza ends, "Israel has to control the entire area from the river to the sea."

By writing cease-fire on their ballots, New Hampshire organizers hope voters can "send a message to President Biden to use his influence to press harder on Netanyahu and Israel's extreme, far-right government for an immediate cease-fire."

They are also stressing that the move will not help former Republican President Donald Trump—who is the GOP front-runner despite his four ongoing criminal cases and arguments that he is constitutionally disqualified from holding office again.

"This is a much better way to cast a protest vote than supporting third-party candidates who would be spoilers that are actually helping Trump," says an informational document from organizers. "We are hoping to push President Biden AND support him (or whoever the Democratic candidate is!) to defeat Trump in November."

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