© 2024 Red River Radio
Voice of the Community
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Biden isn't on the ballot in New Hampshire. Some Democrats will write his name in


Right now, most political attention is focused on the GOP primary in New Hampshire. There is also a Democratic primary tomorrow, but due to a dispute between the state and the national Democratic Party, President Biden isn't even on the ballot. NPR senior White House correspondent Tamara Keith has this look at an effort to make sure Biden wins anyway.

TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: It's 8 in the morning. The temperature is in the teens. And at a fairly busy street corner here in Manchester, there are about 20 to 25 volunteers for the Write In Joe Biden campaign, holding up signs and encouraging people to tomorrow write in Joe Biden.


KEITH: This effort is a far cry from the sophistication and resources that come with a real presidential campaign. And a lot of volunteers are just coming up with their own ideas to help, like Stephanie Harris, a 77-year-old from Claremont.

STEPHANIE HARRIS: I was finding as I was talking to people that I didn't have anything to give them. And all I could say was go to the website and, you know, they might or might not do that. So I decided we should have these cards.

KEITH: So she went to her local print shop and had them designed and printed and is now passing them out. They're simple, with instructions. Bubble in the circle. Write Biden's name.

HARRIS: We're all really just very concerned that democracy is on the line and that every vote at every time, right up through November, is important.

KEITH: President Biden and his campaign have nothing to do with this write-in effort. Biden and the Democratic Party decided they wanted to start the primary process this year in South Carolina, so the results in New Hampshire won't even count toward the nomination. But they could affect the political narrative about Biden, and perhaps as a result, the write-in effort has the backing of high profile Democrats, including Congressman Ro Khanna of California, who came to New Hampshire to help.

RO KHANNA: If we write in Joe Biden and if he wins this state - and it's a hard thing to win in a write-in campaign - the whole country is going to notice, as they always do in New Hampshire. And they're going to say this president has enthusiasm.

KEITH: There are more than a dozen candidates actually on the Democratic primary ballot, including Congressman Dean Phillips and Marianne Williamson. The campaign took a dramatic turn over the weekend when New Hampshire voters started getting this call.

AI-GENERATED VOICE: It's important that you save your vote for the November election.

KEITH: That isn't Joe Biden. It's an AI-generated voice meant to sound like him, telling people not to vote. It's 100% fake and not true. New Hampshire Democratic activist Kathy Sullivan heads a super PAC that's raised a million and a half dollars to promote the write in effort. Whoever is behind the call made it seem like it was coming from her.

KATHY SULLIVAN: My head exploded. And I said, I can't believe that some son of a gun is trying to suppress the vote on Tuesday.

KEITH: Biden's campaign says the call is dangerous disinformation. The New Hampshire attorney general is now investigating. Tamara Keith, NPR News, Manchester, N.H. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Tamara Keith has been a White House correspondent for NPR since 2014 and co-hosts the NPR Politics Podcast, the top political news podcast in America. Keith has chronicled the Trump administration from day one, putting this unorthodox presidency in context for NPR listeners, from early morning tweets to executive orders and investigations. She covered the final two years of the Obama presidency, and during the 2016 presidential campaign she was assigned to cover Hillary Clinton. In 2018, Keith was elected to serve on the board of the White House Correspondents' Association.