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Group urges Democrats to vote "uncommitted" in presidential primary to protest Biden's stance on Israel-Hamas war

A group protesting Biden's stance on the Israel-Hamas war urges MN Democrats to vote 'uncommitted'
A group protesting Biden's stance on the Israel-Hamas war urges MN Democrats to vote 'uncommitted' 02:01

BLAINE, Minn. — Asma Mohammed caught up with people leaving a mosque in Blaine Friday afternoon and made a request: Vote in next Tuesday's Democratic presidential primary, but check the box for "uncommitted," not President Joe Biden. 

She and others hope doing so will dial up the political pressure on the president to call for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza, acting as a form of protest against his current stance on the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. 

The effort mirrors a similar one in Michigan, where 100,000 people voted "uncommitted"—13% of the total ballots cast—over Biden this week. Those results mean two delegates can vote for whomever they choose at this summer's Democratic National Convention, according to CBS News Detroit. 

"We have seen that President Biden no longer cares about protests. He no longer cares that we are doing die-ins, that we are marching in the streets," Mohammed, a lead organizer with Uncommitted MN, said Friday. "But he is paying attention to the opinions of voters at the ballot box."

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The grassroots group says it will be doubling down its get-out-the-vote effort in the final few days before Super Tuesday when Minnesota and more than a dozen other states vote in the presidential primary. 

Despite the new push, DFL Party Chair Ken Martin told reporters earlier this week that he anticipates Joe Biden will have near unanimous support here, citing other states where the president has won easily, including New Hampshire where he wasn't on the ballot. 

"I respect people's feelings and differences of opinion on a whole host of issues. But as Joe Biden says—don't compare him to the Almighty, compare him to the alternative, and I think that's the reality here," Martin said. "This is an existential election."

"Uncommitted" was already slated to be on the Minnesota DFL presidential primary ballot before the group urged voters to challenge the White House in this way. In 2020, 2,600 people selected that option.

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Organizers in Michigan said they had a goal of 10,000 uncommitted votes, but ultimately far exceeded that threshold. Mohammed says they don't have a turnout target in Minnesota, but they hope the movement will amplify their message and Biden will shift his stance. 

There could be delegates awarded to "uncommitted," but only if it hits 15% statewide or in at least one congressional district, a spokesman for the DFL Party said. 

"We don't want a Trump presidency, but we want a better Biden. We want a better Democratic nominee and we think we can move him towards that," said Mohammed. 

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