"Politicians listen to votes, and the people want a cease-fire," said Vote Cease-Fire.
The push for Americans to use their leverage as primary voters and demand a cease-fire in Gaza has spread to Washington state, where the grassroots campaign Vote Cease-Fire on Thursday urged residents to write "cease-fire" on their ballots.
Ballots will be mailed to voters starting Friday, and Washington residents have until March 12 to vote.
Vote Cease-Fire called on voters to write "cease-fire" on the blank lines below candidates' names on their primary ballots in order to make it clear to President Joe Biden that more than three-quarters of Democratic voters want him to demand that Israel stop its bombardment of Gaza and halt funding for the Israel Defense Forces.
The campaign came to Washington a month after more than 1% of New Hampshire Democratic voters wrote "cease-fire" on their primary ballots, after Vote Cease-Fire had had just a week to organize the effort.
Early voting is already underway in Michigan and next week, some voters in the key swing state—home to about 200,000 Muslim voters and 300,000 people with Middle Eastern and North African ancestry—plan to vote "uncommitted" in the primary, signaling to Biden that they will not commit to supporting him in the general election in November unless he takes action to save the lives of Palestinians in Gaza.
Vote Cease-Fire pointed out that the campaigns "will not inherently empower [former President Donald] Trump or a Republican."
"This is a primary, not the general," said the group. "Politicians listen to votes, and the people want a cease-fire. Biden and elected leadership have not heard our calls, rallies, and demands for a cease-fire. It's possible that a change of heart may make him a stronger candidate in November. Opinions differ, but many folks voting 'cease-fire' in the primary are thinking of this as a one-off action, and hoping that it pushes Biden to make the change we want to see."
Despite widespread public support for a cease-fire, the U.S. vetoed a United Nations resolution demanding a humanitarian cessation of hostilities in Gaza this week for the third time—an act which "only serves those who think an obscene death count will somehow further 'soften up' Hamas to accept a one-sided solution," Bill Maddocks of New Hampshire Peace Action said Thursday.
Vote Cease-Fire organizer Joy Dworkin, who lives in Tacoma, Washington, said it was "difficult to believe President Biden is unaware that 63% of the national electorate and more than three-quarters of Democrats support a permanent cease-fire."
"Like many Washingtonians, for months I have been raising my voice, shouting 'Cease-fire Now!'" said Dworkin. "Our current policy of saying we care about civilian Palestinian life while funding ongoing indiscriminate bombing makes no sense. Because it is moral, because it is humane, because it is politically imperative, and because it is in the interests of U.S. standing in the world, we need a cease-fire! When we use the ballot box to say this, perhaps President Biden will finally listen!"