Kanye West will not be on the ballot in Wisconsin for November’s U.S. presidential election, state officials have decided.
West announced his presidential bid last month, on a ticket he calls the Birthday Party and has been gathering signatures to get on the ballot in states where the nomination process was still open, including Wisconsin.
However, at a hearing on Thursday, Wisconsin election officials decided the rapper did not receive the 2,000 valid signatures required by the deadline at 5 pm on 5 August.
The 5-1 vote from a panel of three Republicans and three Democrats rejected the argument by West’s attorney, Michael Curran, that the campaign had until 5:01 p.m. to file – and so got their papers in too late, according to CNN.
West’s election lawyer Michael Curran argued that the papers were filed by 5 pm and were accepted by staffers, constituting a timely filing, but all but one member of the Wisconsin Elections Commission disagreed after receiving evidence from staffers the papers were filed late.
Dean Knudson, a Republican Commissioner who voted to keep the Gold Digger hitmaker off the ballot, said he agreed with complaints the star did not file in time.
“This is one of the closest call cases I’ve seen but consistency requires me to treat all candidates the same, regardless of their party or their colour or any other characteristics,” he explained. “I think the complainants have (presented clear) evidence that he was late.”
West’s entry into the race and appearance on the ballot in states including Tennessee, Arkansas, Colorado, Oklahoma, and Utah has been controversial, with Democrats alleging Republican operatives are aiding the star in a bid to get him on the ballot and draw votes from the Democrat nominee Joe Biden.
Wisconsin is expected to be a key swing state deciding the election as President Donald Trump narrowly won there in 2016. West could take legal action to fight the decision to keep him off the ballot there, but has not indicated if he plans to do so.