(JTA) — Pro-Palestinian activists in New Hampshire have encouraged voters to fill in “ceasefire” on ballots as the state goes to the polls in one of the most watched primaries this cycle.
“We have to get out and show Biden that we’re not just asking for a ceasefire, we’re demanding it,” says the Vote Ceasefire website, launched to send a message to President Joe Biden to press Israel into a ceasefire in its war with Hamas. “And one of the most impactful ways to do that is through the power of your vote.”
A sample ballot on the campaign website shows how to fill in the blank space on the ballot with “ceasefire.” The campaign, launched by local peace activists, has the backing of some prominent state politicians, including Andru Volinsky, a former member of the five-member State’s Executive Council that functions as a check on the governor.
State election officials say they are expecting a larger-than-normal number of write-in votes, and organizers of the ceasefire write-in effort are pressing for the state to disclose just how many votes the write-in campaign draws. They want to influence contests in other states as well, particularly as it appears likely that both parties’ nominating contests will be resolved early in the primary season.
The effort comes as Biden’s backing for Israel’s war with Hamas is under attack from the party’s left, increasingly in Congress as well as among the progressive grassroots.
All eyes are on New Hampshire on Tuesday as Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor, hopes to mount a successful enough challenge to former President Donald Trump in the Republican primary to stay in the race. Trump has driven out virtually every other candidate.
Haley, who has the backing of much of the Republican Jewish establishment, adamantly opposes a ceasefire. Trump claims he could bring an end to the war “very fast,” although he does not say what that would entail.
Biden, who got the Democratic Party to rearrange its primary schedule to start next month in South Carolina, is not on the Democratic ballot, but New Hampshire is running a Democratic primary in any case, although it will not send delegates to the convention.
Long-shot candidates, including Minnesota Rep. Dean Phillips and self-help author Marianne Williamson, who are both Jewish, are on the Democratic ballot. There is a local effort to write in Biden’s name as a means of discouraging the long shots from continuing their bids. The Democratic Majority for Israel, a pro-Israel Democratic political action committee, is encouraging voters to write in Biden’s name.