UPDATED: 1:15 p.m. ET, Sept. 9 —
If you thought Kanye West wasn’t serious about getting on as many states’ presidential ballots as possible, think again. The rapper-turned-wannabe politician has steadily gained ground in that arena by being added to a growing number of ballots across the country as a third party candidate suspected of launching a campaign in order to help Donald Trump get re-elected.
Most recently, West, 43, was added to Mississippi’s presidential ballot. Mississippi Secretary of State Michael Watson described the developments as “interesting” and confirmed West’s place on the ballot.
“It was interesting to see him pick Mississippi, and obviously it will be interesting to see what happens with that vote on Nov. 3,” Watson told the Associated Press on Tuesday said after meeting with the State Board of Election Commissioners. “But he did qualify.”
West, who is reportedly being backed by Republicans, announced July 4 that he was running for president. Since then, he’s been trying to collect signatures from various states to get on their ballots. According to the New York Times, many Republicans have been helping West get on the ballot, including Lane Ruhland, a lawyer who has worked for the Donald Trump campaign, and Mark Jaboky, an executive who’s work for the California Republican Party. Jaboky was arrested on voter fraud charges back in 2008 when he was working for the California Republican Party, and he eventually plead guilty to a misdemeanor. Although West hasn’t stated it directly, reports say his Republican backing could all be a part of a plan to divert votes away from Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.
Wisconsin is one state that challenged West’s signatures as allegedly being fraudulent. According to Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, their state Democratic Party filed a complaint earlier this month requesting state officials block West from appearing on Wisconsin’s presidential ballot this November. They claim West has various problems with his nomination papers, including incorrect addresses for circulators and bogus signatures like “Mickey Mouse” and “Bernie Sanders”. Affidavits are included from six people saying they were duped into putting their names on West’s paperwork.
“If the affidavits are true … crimes were committed by the West campaign,” said. attorney Michael Maistelman, who collected the affidavits for the state Democratic Party. West has since challenged the complaint saying the DNC has to prove that the names like “Mickey Mouse and “Bernie Sanders” aren’t real, according to Newsweek.
West won’t give up his presidential bid, despite having low support from general voters and especially Black voters at just 2 percent, according to a POLITICO/Morning Consult poll. Not to mention it’s still mathematically impossible for Ye to earn 270 electoral votes needed to win the elections because he missed the filing deadline in certain states. While some Black celebrities, like Nick Cannon, have supported West’s campaign, other notable figures have called out his shenanigans, including singer Stephanie Mills who said, West and Cannon are acting like “paid slaves.”
Still, the states below have allowed him to appear on their ballot. This is America.
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Kanye West will be on Arkansas’ general election ballot because he submitted enough valid signatures. In Arkansas’ case, that number of valid signatures cannot be fewer than 1,000. The Associated Press reported that West’s political team submitted more than 1,700 signatures in Arkansas in early August.
“We will certify their names to the respective Election Commission (s) on or before Aug. 20, 2020,” Arkansas Secretary of State John Thurston wrote in a letter at the time. “Ballot draw to determine the order of names being placed on the ballot takes place in every county no later than August 24, 2020, in a public meeting.”
Kanye managed to qualify to appear on Colorado’s presidential ballot in November by doing a number of things, including getting help from a Republican operative linked to Donald Trump. The Denver Post reported that “Colorado’s bar is lower than most” in terms of criteria to qualify for the ballot, including paying a $1,000 fee, submitting notarized statements and obtaining backing from nine electors who are registered voters in the state.
One of those electors explained to Colorado Public Radio why he supported West’s candidacy.
“The reason I signed was because I think that both major parties have let a lot of Coloradans down,” Seth Jacobson said. “Kanye has all the requirements to be on the ballot and I did a fair amount of research before I agreed to do this. He’s talking about issues that no else is talking about. I’m very serious about voting for him.”
Jacobsen added that he doesn’t think Kanye has even the most remote chance of winning. “I think third party candidates can play an important role,” he said.
Idaho Secretary of State confirmed in late August that West “has qualified to be on the November ballot, and therefore will be an option for Idaho voters,” the East Idaho News website reported Aug. 26. “In Idaho, signatures from 1,000 registered voters is the only requirement to be listed as an independent presidential candidate on the general election ballot.”
As with many of the states that West has targeted, he just barely beat Idaho’s deadline to make the ballot.
Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate tweeted a link to the list of candidates on the state’s ballot in November and it included West’s name. However, it listed West as having “no party.” Trump won Iowa in 2016.
Kanye successfully filed to appear on Oklahoma’s presidential ballot by submitting the proper paperwork and other requisites on the last day independent candidates were allowed to, according to Vulture. Those requisites included a $35,000 filing fee and a statement of candidacy, on which seven electors were listed. One of those electors, Will Flanagan, told Vulture that he learned about Wests’ candidacy “through the grapevineKanye joined two o.”
Kanye is joining two other third-party presidential candidates in Utah, where the rapper made the ballot in mid-August. The Salt Lake Tribune reported that “West had filed the necessary paperwork and 1,000 signatures to appear on the ballot in the Beehive state.”
In a trend of sorts, Kanye qualified to be on the ballot in Vermont at the last minute.
“Eric Covey, the chief of staff for Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos, confirmed … that West filed for the ballot at 4:53 p.m. on August 3 — just seven minutes before the 5 p.m. deadline to file as an independent presidential candidate,” the Burlington Free Press reported.