New Hampshire ballot: A lot of candidates – but no Joe Biden

Republicans aren’t the only ones voting for a presidential nominee tomorrow in New Hampshire. Democrats, too, will head to the polls – where some may be surprised to discover their ballots don’t feature President Joe Biden’s name.

Because of a disagreement between the Democratic National Committee and Granite State officials over the primary calendar, the Democratic ballot here lists some two dozen candidates – ranging from self-funded Rep. Dean Phillips of Minnesota and author Marianne Williamson to a rapper from Brooklyn and a plumber from Maryland – but not the incumbent president of the United States. Voters wanting to back Mr. Biden on Tuesday will have to write him in.

It all stems from a decision last year by the DNC to put South Carolina first on its schedule of nominating contests – bumping New Hampshire from its century-old kickoff primary to a shared second place with Nevada. South Carolina, the reasoning went, is more racially diverse than New Hampshire and thus more reflective of the party’s voters nationwide. Perhaps not unrelatedly, Mr. Biden also did terribly (fifth place!) in New Hampshire’s 2020 primary, but rebounded in South Carolina and went on to win the nomination. 

Why We Wrote This

Democrats voting for President Biden in New Hampshire will have to write in his name, thanks to the state’s dispute with the national party. Activists here hope to turn lemons into lemonade.

Granite State Democrats reacted to the snub by opting to hold their primary first, anyway. They say they had little choice: New Hampshire’s “first in the nation” status, they note, is mandated by state law.

Mr. Biden still declined to add his name to the ballot and has not campaigned here. Tuesday’s contest will be essentially for show, with no delegates at stake.

Yet Democrats also realized they didn’t want Mr. Biden to suffer an embarrassing “defeat” here. So party activists belatedly wound up organizing a “write-in Biden” campaign, with sign-waving on street corners, TV ads, and flyers flooding Democratic voters’ mailboxes with instructions on how to add the president’s name to their ballots.

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