Judges in both Arizona and Virginia have ruled to remove iconic rapper Kanye West from the presidential ballots for their respective states ahead of the presidential election on Tuesday, November 3. The judges’ rulings were announced today and essentially require state election officials to ensure the music/fashion mogul’s name does not appear on the states’ voting ballots.
Arizona state judge Scott McCoy ruled that the lawsuit calling for West’s removal would likely succeed as he is making his presidential bid as an independent candidate, even though he’s already registered in the state as a member of Republican Party. Under Arizona law, attorneys argued, West is only able to access the presidential ticket by gaining enough signatures and is “not a registered member of a recognized political party.”
In Richmond, Virginia, Circuit Judge Joi Taylor found that 11 of the oaths from West’s supporters submitted to the state “were obtained by improper, fraudulent and/or misleading means or are otherwise invalid because of notarial violations and misconduct.” Taylor’s ruling also barred state election officials from putting West’s name on presidential ballots while also ordering officials in any communities where his name was already printed to notify area voters that West had officially been disqualified from the election. Virginia ballots are scheduled to be mailed out by September 19 while officials in Arizona were preparing to print ballots next week.
West’s attorney filed petitions with Arizona’s secretary of state on Tuesday of this week explaining that West had contained 57,892 signatures in support of his presidential bid; far more than the ~40,000 verified signatures needed for an independent candidate to qualify for the presidential ballot in the state. However, the original suit to keep West off the ballot also noted his electors had failed to file statements of interest by the required deadline of August 31, which therefore invalidates any signatures gathered before then.
According to CNN, in a legal hearing today West’s lawyers argued that the statute did not apply to his candidacy as it was rather meant for candidates running for office on the Arizona state level. Moreover West’s Attorney Timothy LaSota stated that preventing West from being on this November’s presidential ballot would reduce voters’ choices. With the result of Thursday’s collective rulings, West has qualified to appear on presidential tickets in a total of 10 states.