Conversations and insights about the moment.

Conversations and insights about the moment.

Biden supporters in Manchester, N.H.Credit…Mark Peterson for The New York Times

If voters here at Oyster River High School in liberal Durham, N.H., were excited to vote, it wasn’t because of the candidates on their ballots. Take Caroline Dishaw, a student at the nearby University of New Hampshire, who wrote in President Biden’s name.

“I think it’s terrible,” Dishaw, 20, told me when I asked about the likely rematch between the two circa-80 men. “The fact that they’re the best we can scrum up altogether doesn’t paint a good picture for the future of the country.”

Dishaw’s friend Ella DeCesare, 19, said she voted for Nikki Haley in part because she’s running against Donald Trump. How does she feel about Trump versus Biden? “Sad.”

Outside, a group of retirees waved signs urging voters to write in Biden’s name.

“I was a federal employee for 50 years,” said Brenda Murray, 84. She retired in 2019. Unlike many who said they’re voting for Biden because he is not Trump, Murray said the president has done a good job. She added that she loathed Trump for how he treated federal employees.

Sitting next to Murray was George Wilson, 86, a retired real estate agent and a Republican. He voted for Trump in 2016 but chose Haley this time, he said, since “she has a chance of beating Trump.”

Wilson said he could never vote for Biden, who’s too liberal for him. Why, then, was he holding a “Write-in Biden” sign? “I have a lot of friends that want me to do that, and what’s it hurting?”

I headed inside when my hands began to numb, and I spoke to high school seniors and university students. A few said they’re voting for Marianne Williamson. One said Dean Phillips.

Jennie Maher, 44, said that she was supporting Haley in the hope that things could get done without Trump’s drama. How does she view a Biden-Trump rematch? “It’s disappointing. Just two candidates that have kind of run their course.”

Amid the voters scurrying in and out, one stood to the side, holding up a sign urging voters to protest everyone. “I think the candidates that are currently running, especially Trump, Biden and Haley, are terrible candidates,” said Chase Poirier-McClain, 17. “I agree with them on pretty much nothing, and they’re all just running as alternatives to each other.” He’ll turn 18 before November, and I asked if he’ll vote at all.

“Most likely, I’ll end up voting for Biden,” he said. “Reluctantly.”

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