Kanye West qualifies for Utah presidential ballot

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Rapper Kanye West will appear as a candidate for president on Utah’s ballot in November. 

Representatives for West turned in the 1,000 signatures needed to qualify to appear on the ballot. Monday was the last day for candidates to qualify for a slot in November’s election. West and his running mate, Michelle Tidball, will be listed as unaffiliated candidates.

West’s effort to make the ballot ran into some trouble in Wisconsin and Illinois. Petitions in support of his candidacy appear to have fraudulent signatures from Mickey Mouse and Bernie Sanders. 

West’s qualification for Utah’s ballot is legitimate, though. Unaffiliated candidates seeking a spot on Utah’s ballot must have the 1,000 signatures verified by county clerks before they are turned into the Utah elections officials. 

West announced his candidacy for president on Independence Day. Utah makes the fifth state he has qualified for ballot access so far. Arkansas, Colorado, Oklahoma and Vermont are the other 4. Those five states represent 31 electoral votes, far short of the 270 needed to win the presidency. 

West has also filed for ballot access in six other states representing 52 electoral votes. He has missed the deadline for inclusion in 24 states and the District of Columbia which carry 324 electoral votes. 

He could potentially still reach the ballot in 13 states where the deadline has not passed. Those states have 97 electoral votes. But, it is impossible for him to secure the 270 electoral votes needed for victory.  

West’s bid to make the ballot in Iowa may be in some trouble as he is registered to vote as a Republican in Wyoming. On his Iowa affidavit of candidacy, West said he was “not affiliated with any party.” Iowa election law requires candidates to disclose if they’re affiliated with a party, and the discrepancy could toss West off the ballot there. Curiously, West registered as a Republican five days after he announced his presidential bid. 

West’s affiliation with the GOP will not be a problem in Utah. The Utah Elections Office tells UtahPolicy.com that a candidate can run unaffiliated even if they are registered to vote as a member of another party. 

Democrats have alleged West’s candidacy is designed to siphon support from Black voters away from presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden and boost Republican Donald Trump’s chances to win in November. West has been an unabashed supporter of Trump since 2016 and last week it was reported that he speaks frequently with Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner.  

If that is the strategy, West’s efforts are flopping among Black voters so far. A Politico national poll from last week found West with just 2 percent support overall and 2 percent from Black voters. West’s candidacy also did not have a measurable impact on Biden’s chances. That same poll showed Biden’s 9-point national lead over Trump remained unchanged with West’s inclusion.

Several Republican operatives with ties to President Trump and his campaign are assisting West’s efforts to qualify for the ballot in several states.