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Biden critics claim 12% of New York Democratic voters cast blank ballots to protest Gaza war

Critics of President Joe Biden’s support for the war in Gaza Wednesday claimed that an impressive 12% of New York Democratic voters heeded their call to protest by casting blank ballots in the state’s presidential primary.

Even though the state Board of Elections did not release blank-ballot tallies for the presidential race, the Working Families Party says it was able to come up with estimates through an analysis of delegate vote totals released by the board for each congressional district.

“What we know is that about 12% of New York voters sent a very powerful message to President Biden,” said Ana Maria Archila, a co-director of the WFP. “They want him to take a very different position on this war.”

A spokeswoman for the state Board of Elections said she could not confirm or deny the WFP’s math.

But she acknowledged that the unofficial figures for delegate votes can be used to calculate how many people voted in the primary.

“The delegate unofficial results tabulation does show blanks and voids, so that could give a rough indication of the number of Democratic voters who checked in at the poll sites,” said Kathleen McGrath, the BOE spokeswoman.

In New York City, a slightly higher total of about 15% of voters cast blank ballots than the state as a whole, the WFP said.

The left-leaning group says the highest total in the state came in Rep. Nydia Velazquez’s district, where 31% of voters withheld their support for Biden.

Other districts with outsized totals include 24% in the central Brooklyn district represented by Rep. Yvette Clarke and 22% in Rep. Dan Goldman’s district spanning lower Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn.

Organizers said they were happily surprised by the strong showing given that New York voters are not used to submitting blank ballots for any reason.

“It’s astounding that so many people responded to our call,” Archila said.

Biden crushed also-rans Marianne Williamson and Rep. Dean Philllips with about 91.5% of the ballots that included a pick for president.

About 40,000 New York voters cast blank ballots statewide, the group calculated.

The blank ballot results are broadly in line with the tally of anti-war protest votes in other states, including neighboring Connecticut, where 11% voted for uncommitted delegates Tuesday. Unlike other states, New York does not allow uncommitted slates of delegates or write-in votes in presidential primaries.

New York offiicals do not release the total number of ballots cast or the number of blank ballots in the presidential primary until the board releases certified results later in April.

The WFP calculated the number of blank ballots cast by using official figures for votes for delegates to the national convention, which included the number of votes not cast for any of the delegates.

It figured out the number of blank ballots by subtracting the number of ballots cast for Biden, Williamson and Philllips.