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'Uncommitted' voters send Biden a message in Michigan primary

More than 100,000 Democrats voted "uncommitted," driven largely by activists who are dissatisfied with Biden's handling of the Israel-Hamas war.
'Uncommitted' voters send Biden a message in Michigan primary
Posted at 8:34 AM, Feb 28, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-28 08:39:24-05

Just two hours after polls closed Tuesday in Michigan, early election results already showed more Democrats had voted "uncommitted" in this presidential primary than in any presidential primary since 2008.

At Annapolis High School in Dearborn Heights, there was a constant stream of voters. Poll workers said they had a good turnout for a primary, despite two clear front-runners. However, many voters didn’t vote for either of them.

“Actually, it wasn't a tough decision. I'm undecided,” voter Ronald Talley said.

“I voted on the Democratic ballot and I voted uncommitted,” Brian McCloskey said.

“It wasn't a tough decision,” voter Kristina Tatta said. "I'm tired of old White men, so I did vote uncommitted today.”

SEE MORE: LIVE RESULTS: Biden, Trump projected to win primaries in Michigan

For different reasons, these voters picked up a Democratic ballot and checked uncommitted. They hope their vote sends a message.

“I'm hoping that since I picked a Democratic ballot, that shows I'd be a Democrat. But I want them to know we’re just tired of the same old status quo,” Tatta said. “I'm not happy with two old White men — I’m sick of it. I don't think they really understand what regular people need.”

“It's to send a message to President Biden that if enough people here are saying, 'Listen, we're trying to tell you we might stay home if it’s you and Trump. We might stay home,'" McCloskey said.

In recent months, there’s been a major push in Michigan from some Democrats to vote uncommitted as a protest over the ongoing war in Gaza. Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib sent out 87,000 robocalls to voters, urging them to choose uncommitted instead of voting for Biden.

“Please, help protect our democracy by sending a clear message to President Biden,” Tlaib said on the recorded call.

SEE MORE: Black faith leaders worry Biden is on 'wrong side of history' in Gaza

However, other prominent Democrats including Gov. Gretchen Whitmer have been critical of the protest vote.

“Any vote that is not cast for Biden supports a second Trump term,” Whitmer said on CNN's "State of the Union" program.

However, despite the large number of uncommitted Democrats, Republicans like former State Rep. Rocky Raczkowski don't plan to make it the focus.

“I don't think any Republican is reveling in the uncommitted numbers. I'm for sure not and I don't think former President Trump should be either,” Raczkowski said. "We should be focused on our triumphs and, were people better off four years ago than they are today?”

When it comes down to November, many Democrat uncommitted voters will have a choice to make. It's a choice they say they won’t be happy about.

“Pragmatically, I think I would hold my nose and vote for Biden, as much as that hurts my soul,” McCloskey said.

“I'll absolutely vote for Biden at that point," Tatta said. "I’d never vote for the other person.”


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