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Biden won't be on New Hampshire's ballot. Some Democrats still want to give him a win

President Joe Biden gestures with two thumbs up responding to a question from the media about UAW deal as he leaves St. Joseph on the Brandywine Catholic Church in Wilmington, Del., on Oct. 28.
Manuel Balce Ceneta
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AP
President Joe Biden gestures with two thumbs up responding to a question from the media about UAW deal as he leaves St. Joseph on the Brandywine Catholic Church in Wilmington, Del., on Oct. 28.

A group of more than 100 Democratic organizers in New Hampshire have launched a campaign to cast write-in votes for President Biden in the state's upcoming presidential primary.

Biden did not put his name on the ballot for what is traditionally the first-in-the-nation primary because the Democratic National Committee overhauled its calendar to put South Carolina first instead. New Hampshire and Nevada are up second in the new order.

The DNC says that switch allows for a more diverse state to be the first to cast votes for the presidential election.

Enter the 'Write-In Biden' campaign, consisting of a group of top Democratic leaders in New Hampshire and other prominent individuals, including documentary filmmaker Ken Burns. The strategy serves as a workaround for the DNC's new primary calendar so that the state can keep its status as the first-in-the-nation primary, while still having Biden in the running.

"We're going to take the opportunity to tell Democrats, 'Yes, you should go and vote and you should go and vote for Joe Biden, even if it means writing in Joe Biden and checking the box next to the write-in line,'" said Kathy Sullivan, a former chair of the New Hampshire Democratic Party and DNC member who is a part of the campaign.

The change to the calendar was met with resistance by some in New Hampshire. State law requires the Granite State to hold the first primary election in the country, for both political parties.

"We Democrats here value our democracy, and in some ways, what the DNC wanted to do became irrelevant," said David Watters, a state senator and one of the organizers behind the effort. "We have a state statute that determines that we are the first-in-the-nation primary. That's the law that we follow."

Democratic presidential candidate, U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn) during a campaign stop Tuesday.
Charles Krupa / AP
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AP
Democratic presidential candidate and U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips, D-Minn., during a campaign stop Tuesday.

The announcement for 'Write-In Biden' comes days after Minnesota Congressman Dean Phillips announced his bid for the Democratic nomination. He filed to appear on New Hampshire's ballot which will likely give him a bump, given that Biden's name won't be printed there.

Still, Watters said he and other organizers are confused as to why Phillips would run against Biden.

"I think we're just perplexed," Watters said. "I won't call it a vanity project, but you know, he supports every issue of the president. So I just don't get it personally."

Phillips has said he has concerns that Biden, 80, will be able to beat the likely Republican nominee, former President Donald Trump. Phillips has also said it's time for the party to look to the future.

Biden is slated to travel to Minnesota on Wednesday to make remarks on his administration's spending on rural America. Phillips is hosting a town hall in New Hampshire as Biden lands in his home state.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Jeongyoon Han