An Act of Rebellion as California Voters Take A Stance

Photo by Ma Ti on Unsplash

In the past primaries, it’s been reported that some voters around the country have decided to demonstrate their support for Palestine by casting “uncommitted,’’ instead of voting for a presidential candidate. The plan for many, during the November election, is to continue this stance.

While President Joe Biden has provided humanitarian aid to Gaza, he still actively supports Israel by framing it as Israel’s right to defend itself against Hamas’ attack on Oct. 7, 2023. Meanwhile, the blockade of the Gaza Strip has left civilians without essential goods and trapped within the violent territory. With the United States government backing Israel, many Americans are horrified by the U.S.’s complacency. This distaste has fueled a passion for advocacy in different forms, from protests to fundraising to voting. It has been a matter of individual morals rebelling against the government’s misrepresentation of them. 

Voters who have decided to write in for a “vote cease-fire” create a statement rather than a proactive vote that is counted toward a candidate. However, it is a glimpse into the dissatisfaction Americans have for their representatives. Protests in California have been ablaze, with protesters in Sacramento and Los Angeles urging officials to support a cease-fire.

While cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego are often in the news, smaller communities are also making noise. For example, protests have occurred from Fresno State to large traffic centers like River Park in Fresno County. Fresno’s local coffee shop, Alchemist Coffee Lab, even held a fundraiser in solidarity with Palestine.

The independent group, Fresno For Palestine, has organized protests, fundraisers, and events. The group shares news on the struggles occurring in Palestine and calls out local leaders for their complacency. 

Madera is the first city in the Central Valley to call for a cease-fire resolution, and Kerman was the first city in Fresno County to call for one as well. The group’s efforts have led to these political decisions and have created a voice for the Palestinian community and their allies.

Photo by Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona on Unsplash

Fresno For Palestine’s thoughts on the write-in ballots:

“We see that those who write in ‘Free Palestine’ on their ballots are doing so in an act of rebellion, whether it results in a cease-fire or not. It’s become increasingly clear that a majority of these candidates lack empathy, which means they should not have any power or authority over the people.”

According to Fresnoland, representatives, like Congressman Jim Costa, refuse to meet with Palestinian constituents. Running against Costa for the 21st Congressional District, Republican Michael Maher has yet to release a statement on his stance, adding to the uneasiness of candidates. 

Write-in votes are not uncommon. In the 2016 election, voters were divided or indecisive between the presidential candidates. Many of the write-in votes, such as “Mickey Mouse,” were humorous. 

However, such write-in votes create a message of dissatisfaction with candidates rather than a viable means of changing the outcome of who’s elected. This is called a protest vote, which is “a ballot cast for a candidate with a minimal chance of winning, to register dislike for the other candidates.” There has never been a presidential candidate who has won through write-in votes. It is more likely that a write-in Congress candidate who has campaigned would win a spot in the Senate or House of Representatives.

While a write-in to send a message about the ongoing violence in Gaza is a form of protest, representatives are the ones who can vote for a cease-fire. An effective way to counter this is to use the right to contact representatives. This form of opposition is the most effective in determining what candidates are willing to represent voters’ values.

All over the United States, in California, and the Central Valley, supporters have been roaring for a cease-fire. Representatives who have remained complacent can hear this thunder. It’s a matter of voting them out and calling them out. 

Domaris Cid (she/her, he/him)

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