18.05.2022

Kanye West kept off Wisconsin ballot by state officials after missing deadline by less than two minutes

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Kanye West’s application for the presidential ballot in Wisconsin has been rejected by state election officials on the basis that he filed his papers late.

However, he may still be eligible to run in the state as a write-in candidate, provided he files the relevant documents by 20 October.

Mr West’s official application papers for the Wisconsin ballot were hand-delivered by an election lawyer, who reportedly walked into the Election Commission building a few seconds after the 5pm deadline on 5 August.

The commission’s six-member panel that met on Thursday voted against allowing Mr West on the ballot by a margin of five to one. “When you’re late, you’re late,” said one the commissioners, rejecting the West campaign’s argument that the deadline meant candidates could file at any time until 5:01pm.

The verdict not only deals another blow to West’s erratic campaign, but keeps him from acting as a “spoiler” in a critical swing state that Donald Trump won by fewer than 23,000 votes.

The West campaign’s efforts to get on the ballot in different states have been highly quixotic, matching the overall tenor of the rapper’s bizarre stand.

Mr West only announced he was running on 4 July, too late to get his name on the ballot in several states. Less than two weeks later, a consultant hired by Mr West told New York Magazine that the campaign was over – just before the candidate filed to get on the ballot in Oklahoma.

Since then, he has filed papers in multiple states, though with mixed results. Having missed further states since he first began filing, his applications have fallen short not just in Wisconsin but in New Jersey and Illinois. It is unclear what effort he has made in California, without whose electoral votes it would be mathematically impossible for him to win the election.

However, the saga of Mr West’s ballot access efforts is less about the prospect of his winning the Oval Office and more a matter of how his presence on the ballot might affect the contest between Joe Biden and Donald Trump.

With the president’s re-election campaign floundering in the polls, several recent reports have indicated that current and former Republican operatives have been helping Mr West apply for the ballot in various swing states.

In Wisconsin, the lawyer who delivered Mr West’s papers was Lane Ruhland, who has previously served as general counsel for the state Republican party and has been representing Mr Trump’s campaign. After she dropped off West’s documents, she was hit with a conflict-of-interest complaint for working on behalf of both campaigns at the same time.

Mr West also recently met with the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, fuelling the concerns that the White House itself may itself have taken an interest in setting up Mr West as a spoiler candidate.

However, another theory of the West campaign is that it is at least in part a factor of the candidate’s mental illness. Mr West has spoken before about living with bipolar disorder, describing the bouts of “paranoia” he has experienced.

Since the campaign began, he has sent various concerning tweets accusing his family and friends of plotting against him, and at his first rally in South Carolina, he ranted incoherently about various subjects in front of a confused audience, at one point bursting into tears.

After a recent Twitter outburst, Mr West’s wife, Kim Kardashian, issued a lengthy statement addressing the issue and imploring the public to show “compassion and empathy”.

“Those that understand mental illness or even compulsive behaviour know that the family is powerless unless the member is a minor. People who are unaware or far removed from this experience can be judgmental and not understand that the individual themselves have (sic) to engage in the process of getting help no matter how hard family and friends try.”

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