A Shocking Number Of Minnesota Democrats Cast ‘Uncommitted’ Ballots

More than 45,000 voters cast their ballots for "uncommitted" – over twice the number who voted for Biden challenger Rep. Dean Phillips in his home state.

Nearly 20% of Minnesota Democratic voters opted to vote “uncommitted” in Tuesday’s presidential primary, as efforts gain momentum to send a message to President Joe Biden about his backing of Israel amid the soaring civilian casualties in its war in Gaza.

More than 45,000 voters cast their ballots for “uncommitted” ― over twice the number of those voting for Biden challenger Rep. Dean Phillips (Minn.), who received a little fewer than 19,000 votes. Last week, Michigan similarly registered 100,000 “uncommitted” votes, more than 13% of the total turnout, against Biden.

For the past several months, various groups have pledged not to vote for Biden due to his staunch support for Israeli forces that have killed more than 30,000 Palestinians ― including tens of thousands of women and children ― following an Oct. 7 attack by Hamas militants in which some 1,200 people were killed in Israel and roughly another 250 were taken hostage.

Minnesota’s “uncommitted” campaign launched on Feb. 26 with a budget of $20,000 dedicated to voter outreach. Their goal was to reach 5,000 voters. More than 45,000 voters turned out, qualifying the group to send 11 delegates to the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in August, according to the state Democratic Party.

“I did not expect that number. We believed that we were successful if we managed 2-3%, and I thought that it would be an exceptional victory if we matched Michigan,” said Hassan Abdel Salam, a human rights professor at the University of Minnesota and one of the founders of the Abandon Biden campaign. “This was an extraordinary result. This was a testament to all the hard work of our campaigners and organizers making this victory a manifest, even if unexpected, reality.”

“The primary reveals that there are sufficient numbers of people in the electorate to swing the election away from Biden because of his complicity in the attacks on Gaza,” he added.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) addressed the protest vote on CNN Tuesday night. “Their message is clear that they think this is an intolerable situation and that we can do more, and I think the president is hearing that,” Walz said ― though he added that he thinks Biden will win the voters back.

“Uncommitted” votes received some support in other Super Tuesday states, including North Carolina, where more than 12% of the state’s Democratic voters cast their ballots for “no preference,” and in Massachusetts, where more than 9% did the same.

“From Michigan to Massachusetts, to Minnesota, we want Joe Biden to know that if he wants our votes, he must listen to his constituents. The vast majority of Democrats demand a ceasefire,” said Cicia Lee, a Massachusetts-based organizer, in an emailed statement. “We hope that President Biden and all of the Massachusetts elected officials take note: Democratic voters and our multi-racial, multi-faith, anti-war coalition refuse to support a genocide.”

Other states are gearing up for their own primaries in hopes of replicating similar successes.

The Listen to Georgia Coalition, a campaign encouraging voters to submit a blank primary ballot, released a statement Wednesday morning congratulating voters and urging Georgia Democrats to follow their example.

“We’ve been in the streets for weeks, calling our reps and senators every day, and they’ve been ignoring us. This is a wake up call that the people don’t want to be complicit in genocide,” said Lara Jirmanus, a physician and community organizer based in Massachusetts, in an emailed statement.

“This movement puts the Democrats on watch that if policies don’t reflect what the people want, there will be consequences in November,” she said.

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