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Kanye West kept off Wisconsin presidential ballot

The Wisconsin Elections Commission says the petition was submitted too late
Published: Aug. 20, 2020 at 5:45 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 20, 2020 at 8:59 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WBAY/AP) - Rapper Kanye West will not be on the Wisconsin ballot after a 5-1 vote by state election commissioners to deny the petition, saying it came in a few minutes late.

West will be kept off the battleground state’s presidential ballot in November because he missed the 5 P.M. deadline on August 5 to submit nomination papers as a third-party candidate.

“At what time to the best of your recollection did those papers land on the desk?” Commission Chair Ann Jacobs asked.

“To the best of my recollection it was 5:01,” elections specialist Riley Willman answered.

West’s campaign attorney, Michael Curran, acknowledged to the commission that campaign workers didn’t enter the commission building until 14 seconds after 5 p.m. West’s attorneys argued unsuccessfully that a 5 P.M. deadline includes 5 o’clock and up to 5:01.

Commissioner Dean Knudson said, “To me, while I regret that, you know, it’s the case, I do not feel like they filed timely.”

“We shouldn’t set a precedent based upon how things have been voted on in the past. It seems to me, I’ve been told if they were late, they were late,” commission Secretary Marge Bostelmann said.

Robert Spindell was the lone commissioner who supported putting West on the ballot.

“Here they wish to take away from the Black population an opportunity to take a Black presidential candidate off the ballot and have a choice in terms of who they want to vote for,” said Spindell.

Democrats allege that Republicans are pushing West’s candidacy in several states to siphon votes away from Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. Wisconsin is expected to be a key swing state in the race after President Donald Trump narrowly won the state in 2016.

If the paperwork had been on time, elections staff determined West had 2,422 valid signatures on his nominating papers, more than the 2,000 he needed.

West has submitted petitions in several states, including Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming. His petitions were rejected in Illinois, Montana and New Jersey for not having enough valid signatures.

(Copyright 2020 WBAY. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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