As Wisconsin’s April 2 presidential primary approaches, you might have heard of a movement to vote “uninstructed” on the ballot.

But what does that mean? Where is that option on the primary ballot? And why are some Wisconsinites choosing to vote that way?

Long story short, some voters are choosing the “uninstructed delegation” option in the Democratic primary to send a message to President Joe Biden that they oppose his response to the Israel-Hamas war.

Here’s what to know:

Where is ‘uninstructed delegation on Wisconsin ballot in the April 2024 election?

When you vote in Wisconsin’s election April 2, or visit an early voting location, you’ll choose at the top of the ballot whether to vote in the Democratic primary or the Republican primary. You can see a preview of your ballot at

On the Democratic side, the candidates on the ballot are Biden and Minnesota congressman Dean Phillips, who has dropped out and endorsed Biden. Under those two names is “Uninstructed Delegation (Democratic)” and a write-in option.

Those two options are also available on the Republican side, along with former President Donald Trump, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former United Nations Ambassador and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy. All but Trump have dropped out.

District 4 Supervisor Ryan Clancy speaks to a crowd of organizers at a Listen to Wisconsin rally on March 19. Listen to Wisconsin supports uninstructed voting as a means of protesting the Biden's administrations policies on Israel and Gaza.

District 4 Supervisor Ryan Clancy speaks to a crowd of organizers at a Listen to Wisconsin rally on March 19. Listen to Wisconsin supports uninstructed voting as a means of protesting the Biden’s administrations policies on Israel and Gaza.

What does a vote for an ‘uninstructed delegation’ actually mean in the Wisconsin April 2024 election?

When you vote in a presidential primary, you’re actually voting to send delegates in support of a candidate to the parties’ nominating conventions — the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee and the Democratic National Convention in Chicago this summer.

So, choosing “uninstructed delegation” means the delegate would go to the convention without being “instructed” to vote for any specific candidate. Those type of delegates have picked up 20 spots in other state primaries, and Wisconsin could gain them, too, if “uninstructed” receives at least 15% of the statewide vote.

Why are some voters deciding to vote uninstructed in the Wisconsin election?

Organizers who spoke to the Journal Sentinel detailed that their decision to vote uninstructed was due to the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza, where over 1 million civilians are at risk of famine, according to a recent report.

“For me, it’s taking a clear, clear stance towards commitment to both Israeli and Palestinian safety in the future. That means recognizing Palestinian sovereignty, reinstating humanitarian aid and funding with a rebuilding plan,” said Omar Jandal, an organizer for Listen to Wisconsin.

According to Listen to Wisconsin’s lead organizers, the group is a collective of young voters, people of color, left-wing progressives and moderates, with a shared interest for peace.

How did the movement fare in other state primaries?

Other states have had slightly different wordings on their ballots, such as “uncommitted” or “no preference.”

Not every state has that option. Arizona, for example, didn’t have an “uncommitted” option or a write-in box. Instead, activists encouraged voting for Marianne Williamson, an author and Democratic candidate who has dropped out.

Third-party candidates who have presented themselves as alternatives to Biden, like the Green Party’s Jill Stein, aren’t on Wisconsin’s primary ballot. Most Listen to Wisconsin organizers interviewed by the Journal Sentinel ruled out voting third-party.

In Minnesota — which has a similar population to Wisconsin — 45,915 people selected the “uncommitted” option, or 19%. In Michigan, a battleground state like Wisconsin, around 13% of voters chose the option, representing more than 100,000 votes.

Those totals are well over Biden’s margin when he won Wisconsin in 2020 by a little over 20,000 votes. The movement’s results April 2 could show Biden’s vulnerability among some Democratic voters.

This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Voting uninstructed in Wisconsin; what ballot says for April election

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