Judge bars rapper Kanye West from appearing on Arizona’s ballot

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Washington: A judge has barred Kanye West from appearing on the November 3 ballot in Arizona, concluding a voter had challenged his candidacy. The voter had shown Kanye West would probably prevail and had established the possibility of an irreparable harm if the rapper’s name were to appear on the ballot.

The ruling Thursday by Judge Scott McCoy said that the voter who challenged West’s bid in Arizona ‘established that the relative hardships favour him’. Putting West on the ballot would create confusion for voters, his lawyers argued.

The decision came a day after West’s campaign turned in nearly 58,000 nominating signatures, well over the 39,000 needed to appear on the Arizona ballot.

Over the last 10 days, more than 120 people living in other states have registered in Arizona as paid signature gatherers for West. The rapper had announced his presidential campaign, July 4.

West has already qualified to appear on the ballot in several states, including Arkansas, Idaho, Iowa, Tennessee and Utah. He didn’t qualify in Ohio, Montana, West Virginia, Wisconsin and other states. He has filed lawsuits challenging some of those decisions.

A judge in Virginia ordered West’s name removed from ballots in that state Thursday. The judge said that West failed to meet a requirement that 13 people pledge support for his campaign.

The judge ruled 11 of the 13 ‘Elector Oaths’ submitted by the West campaign were invalid. The judge ruled that some were ‘obtained by improper, fraudulent and/or misleading means’.

West’s attorneys said they will appeal the ruling to the Arizona Supreme Court. Tim LaSota, an attorney representing West had no immediate comment Thursday evening.

Earlier this week, Arizona resident Rasean Clayton filed a lawsuit for West to be barred from appearing on the ballot. The lawsuit accused the rapper of serving as an election spoiler. It said that state law barred West from running as an independent candidate because West is a registered Republican.

West’s lawyers said their client’s status as a registered Republican in Wyoming was irrelevant to getting on the Arizona ballot. They said when West filed federal election paperwork he listed his political party as ‘BDY’” an abbreviation for ‘Birthday Party’. Despite those claims, Clayton’s attorneys said West remains a registered Republican.

They also said nearly all of West’s electors — who would cast electoral college votes if he were to win were Republicans. They changed registrations to independent Monday and Tuesday.

Clayton’s attorneys said the lawsuit had to be resolved quickly because deadlines for printing ballots are approaching.