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Federal Judge Denies Latest Attempt To Put Kanye On W.Va. Ballots

In this July 19, 2020, file photo, Kanye West makes his first presidential campaign appearance, in North Charleston, S.C. West has sued the West Virginia Secretary of State's Office after being told his bid to get on the ballot for president came up short
Lauren Petracca Ipetracca
AP file Photo

A federal judge on Monday denied the latest attempt from rapper Kanye West to make the Mountain State’s ballot this November.

West, who announced his run for U.S. president via Twitter in July, sued Secretary of State Mac Warner in August after election officials rejected his post-primary effort to join the ballot. 

West and others running for office, following the June 9 primary, are required by state law to gather signatures from at least 1 percent of the number of people who cast ballots for their desired seat in the last general election. For the governor’s race this year that’s 7,144 names.

Warner’s office reported that it found more than half of the 15,000 signatures West submitted were not valid, either because they weren’t linked to registered voters or they were illegible.

In West’s complaint from Aug. 28, he asked that U.S. District Judge Irene Berger require that his name be placed on the ballot with his running mate Michelle Tidball, who Forbes reported is a biblical life coach from Cody, Wyoming where West is registered.

U.S. District Judge Irene Berger noted that West “submitted all of his signatures on the absolute deadline for filing,” leaving him “without adequate time to remedy invalidation and submit additional signatures to cure the deficit.”

West has sued and lost similar bids in Wisconsin and Ohio.

In late August, outgoing state Del. Marshall Wilson, an independent from Berkeley County, also sued Warner’s office after falling short of the necessary signature count.

U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Johnston rejected Wilson’s request that the secretary of state’s office extend the post-primary filing deadline, according to the Charleston Gazette-Mail.

Wilson is encouraging his supporters to vote for him as a write-in candidate.

West’s lead attorney in Charleston, J. Mark Adkins with Bowles Rice, did not respond to a request for comment.

Communications director Mike Queen said that Warner’s office had nothing to add on Monday, outside of the judge’s most recent order.

Emily Allen is a Report for America corps member.

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