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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Trump and Biden win primaries, but voters express their discontent

A voter checks in at a polling place at the Carver Academy on primary election day in Milwaukee, Wis., on April 2, 2024. (Jim Vondruska/The New York Times)

By Chris Cameron

Hundreds of thousands of voters turned out in New York for the Democratic and Republican primaries on Tuesday, where President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump won overwhelming victories.

But the impact of an organized protest vote in the state, encouraged as a way for voters to register their disapproval with Biden’s handling of the war in Gaza, remains unclear and may not be known for days.

While Biden and Trump scored yawning leads in New York — as well as in primaries in Wisconsin, Rhode Island and Connecticut — small but significant protest votes in both parties have persisted.

New York does not have an “uncommitted” option, so organizers of an anti-Biden protest vote in the state instead urged voters in the Democratic primary to leave their ballots blank.

Blank ballots have not been reported in the initial, unofficial results of the primary, which showed Biden with more than 90% of tallied votes. A spokesperson for New York’s Board of Elections said the tally of blank ballots would be public within two weeks.

In the Republican primary, Trump had above 80% of the vote, while Nikki Haley had 13% and Chris Christie, a former governor of New Jersey, scored 4% of the vote. He dropped out of the race in January.

Trump took at least 75% of the vote in every state as of 8 a.m. Eastern time on Wednesday. But Haley, who dropped out of the race early last month, still took at least 10% of the vote in all four states, a sign of lingering discontent in the Republican Party with Trump’s candidacy. Connecticut was Trump’s weakest performance, taking under 78% of the vote, while Haley took about 14%.

Biden also won at least 80% of the vote in every primary as of 8 a.m. The “uncommitted” option took between 8% and 15% of the vote in the states where that was an option. In Rhode Island, 14.9% of voters chose the “uncommitted” ballot option, or about 3,750 votes, with turnout on the Democratic side roughly a quarter of that in 2020.

Here’s what else to know:

— Voters in Wisconsin approved two constitutional amendments that will forbid officials from accepting donations of money or staffing to help run elections. The questions were placed on the state’s primary ballot by the Republican-controlled Legislature.

— A new Wall Street Journal poll released Tuesday finds that Trump leads Biden in six battleground states — Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. Biden leads in Wisconsin, according to the poll, but only when the test ballot includes third-party and independent candidates. In a head-to-head matchup, they are tied in Wisconsin. Several of the leads are within the margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

— Nebraska Gov. Jim Pillen, a Republican, and Trump threw their support behind a measure to change the district-based system for presidential elections in the state to a “winner takes all” system that would award all electoral votes to the statewide winner. Biden was able to win one electoral vote in Nebraska in 2020 under the current rules, the first time a Democrat had done so since 2008.

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