Working Families Party urges Democrats to protest Biden at the ballot

The Working Families Party will call on New Yorkers to cast blank ballots in Tuesday’s Democratic presidential primary as part of a growing movement that aims to pressure President Joe Biden over the war in Gaza.

The influential left-wing third party, which counts thousands of active members across the state, is set to announce on Friday its endorsement of the “Leave It Blank NY” campaign, according to a press release shared exclusively with Gothamist.

Biden is expected to handily win the primary in solidly blue New York, and has already secured the party’s nomination. But antiwar organizers argue that a significant number of blank ballots could add momentum to the effort to persuade the White House to call for a permanent cease-fire.

“The war in Gaza has really splintered the Democratic coalition that is urgently needed to defeat [Donald] Trump and his right-wing extremist agenda,” the New York Working Families Party’s co-Director Ana María Archila told Gothamist. “And it has created a very serious moral dilemma for voters across the country.”

Hundreds of antiwar protesters showed up in the rain on Thursday night outside a Biden fundraiser at Radio City Music Hall. On Friday, a group of left-leaning city and state elected officials also announced their support for the Leave It Blank campaign.

New York’s blank vote campaign was modeled after others across the country, including an initiative in Michigan that resulted in more than 101,000 “uncommitted” votes and has signaled the internal division among Democrats over the Israel-Hamas war. But unlike Michigan, New York lacks uncommitted or write-in options.

Top Democrats warn that the protest against Biden comes as the president faces a tight race against former President Donald Trump. The Republican nominee has polled ahead of Biden in some surveys despite facing numerous lawsuits, including his role in trying to overturn the 2020 election.

But Archila said she viewed the blank vote campaign as something that would engage and unify Democrats at a moment when they lack enthusiasm.

“Instead of disconnecting from democracy, what we need to be doing is leaning into our democracy,” she said. “And we know that voters who show up in the primary are more likely to show up in a general election.”

At a campaign event earlier this week, Biden publicly acknowledged the frustrations of protesters who have accused him of being complicit in the killing of more than 30,000 Palestinians according to Gaza health officials, and a worsening humanitarian crisis that has increasingly limited access to food and water. “We need to get a lot more care into Gaza,” he said.

New York Democrats’ effort to express their dissatisfaction with Biden’s handling of the war faces one potential challenge. There is a brewing legal battle to have New York election officials release the number of blank ballots cast on election night. State election officials have said they do not plan to include blank votes in unofficial election day results and would report the number of blank or voided votes weeks later, after the certification process

Organizers behind Leave It Blank NY sent a letter to the state Board of Elections on Monday in which they threatened to sue the board if the blank votes were not reported on election night.

New York’s early voting began on Saturday and runs through March 30.

Source link


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *