Given that he didn’t announce his candidacy until July, Kanye West’s presidential bid has been an uphill battle from the start. But now, his campaign is facing a brand-new hurdle to appear on ballots in November, in the form of suggestions of potential electoral fraud.
The rapper has filed petitions to appear on the presidential ticket in 10 states, but so far has only managed to secure a spot on Oklahoma’s ballot, although he has many petitions pending review. While he managed to meet the filing deadlines for Illinois and New Jersey, the two states are now throwing West’s eligibility into doubt after both announced that the majority of the signatures submitted as part of his petition are invalid.
The latest issue has come in West’s home state, where Chicago’s WTTW reported that he was 1,300 signatures short of the necessary 2,500 needed to appear on the Illinois ballot. A hearing officer determined that only 1,200 signatures submitted were valid after the 46th Ward Democratic committee member, Sean Tenner, was inspired to take a closer look at the rapper’s petition. WTTW reported that the petition submitted by his campaign with the help of GOP officials in Wisconsin is also being challenged.
Last week, NJ.com reported that West’s campaign withdrew his petition hours before a scheduled hearing to determine his application’s validity after an elections lawyer questioned over 700 signatures his team submitted. West submitted 1,327 signatures to the New Jersey Division of Elections ahead of the July 27 deadline. Two days later, Florham Park–based elections attorney Scott Salmon says he found hundreds of suspicious signatures with issues including no last name, no municipality listed, people who were not registered to vote or didn’t live in New Jersey.
Salmon told NJ Advance Media, “I am glad to see the Kanye campaign has realized that their petition was not going to survive here. It was so clearly deficient that it wasn’t even worth defending. I think that’s the main takeaway here. I wish it wouldn’t have gotten this far.”
Additionally, a New York Times investigation found there are a number of Republican activists helping West get on the ballot, including Mark Jacoby whose company Let the Voters Decide has been collecting signatures in Ohio, West Virginia, and Arkansas. While working for the California Republican Party in 2008, Jacoby was arrested on voter-fraud charges and pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor. Voter-registration fraud carries a penalty of up to three years in prison, according to CBS News.
West’s team has until August 21 to refute Illinois’s determination regarding the invalid signatures when the findings will be presented to the Illinois State Board of Elections. No official charges of voter-registration fraud have been filed against West or his campaign as of now.
Source: Vanity Fair