Kanye West does not qualify to be on the presidential ballot in the battlefield state of Wisconsin after missing a filing deadline, a judge ruled Friday night.
The decision was made by Brown County Circuit Judge John Zakowski, who ruled in favor of the Wisconsin Election Commission.
West had filed a lawsuit against the election commission over the previous decision to ban him from voting because his nomination papers were submitted 14 seconds after the 5 p.m. deadline on August 4.
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Kanye West (pictured at a rally in South Carolina in July) does not qualify for the presidential poll in the Wisconsin battlefield after missing a filing deadline, a judge ruled Friday night.
In West’s case, Zakowski ruled that the state election commission was correct in determining that the musician narrowly missed the 5 p.m. filing deadline to run for president.
“The unfortunate fact is that this dispute could have been avoided if the Western representatives had simply arrived earlier,” the judge said.
“Applicants should plan ahead and arrive on time to enter the building and file the documents at the commission office by the deadline, there are no exceptions under the law or case law. relevant. “
West had argued that the deadline did not expire until 5:01 p.m. and regardless of the time, commission staff always accepted the documents. The commission voted that West missed the deadline by seconds or minutes.
According to the lawsuit, commission staff should have unlocked the building’s doors at 4:40 p.m. to accommodate late filers.
But the commission building has been locked since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Campaign workers in West had to call the commission shortly before 5 p.m. to get them to unlock the doors.
A commission staff member said West’s representatives did not place the application documents on the counter until 5:01 p.m.
By the time the papers were organized and officially accepted, it was several minutes past the 5pm deadline.
West had filed a lawsuit against the election commission over the earlier decision to ban him from voting because his nomination papers were submitted 14 seconds after the 5 p.m. deadline on August 4. A voter is pictured in Wisconsin on September 9.
West’s attorneys did not immediately return a message asking for comment.
West announced a presidential candidacy in July, saying he was seeking the highest post in the country on a ticket he calls the “birthday party.”
Democrats say Republicans are pushing West’s candidacy in the swing states to siphon black vote from Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
The decision will likely be quickly appealed to the Tory-controlled Supreme Court of Wisconsin.
That court suspended mailing ballots on Thursday while considering whether Green Party presidential candidate Howie Hawkins should be added.
The delay is being watched closely in Wisconsin, a swing state that President Donald Trump narrowly won in 2016 and which polls show is still tight this year.
State law requires ballots to be sent out by September 17 to more than a million voters who have applications on file. There is also a September 19 deadline in federal law for sending ballots to foreign and military voters.
Those delays could force the Tory-controlled 4-3 Wisconsin Supreme Court to act within days to determine who should be on the ballot.
The state election commission argued that printing new ballots this late would not only be expensive, but could also cause “confusion and disorder” and may not even be feasible.
The fact that West and Hawkins are allowed to vote could have a significant impact in razor-sharp Wisconsin.
2016 Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein won 31,006 votes in the state, more than Trump’s margin of 22,177 votes over Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Thousands of ballots statewide have already been mailed or ready to be sent out when the state’s Supreme Court hit the pause button on Thursday.
The electoral commission did not have an exact count of the number of ballots sent.
Although September 17 is the deadline for clerks to mail out ballots to those who already have a request on file, anyone who requests it later will receive a ballot in the mail.
October 29 is the deadline for most voters to request a ballot by mail. Returned ballots must be received before the close of polling stations at 8:00 p.m. on polling day.
Election officials urged voters to return their ballots as soon as possible amid concerns over slower mail delivery and the expected unprecedented number of mail-in ballots.
State election officials have estimated that more than 2 million of the state’s estimated 3 million eligible voters will vote by mail, in large part due to concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.