More than a month into his long shot, third-party campaign for president, Kanye West has struggled mightily to add his name to the ballot in a majority of states. After a July 4 announcement that he would be running under the Birthday Party banner in an attempt to unseat his former MAGA comrade President Donald Trump from the White House, the rapper’s #2020VISION effort has run into a series of roadblocks.
If the current tally stands, West has no chance to make a dent in the national vote total and may not even have enough ballot box clout to serve as a significant spoiler to Trump’s Democratic challenger, former Vice President Joe Biden.
So far, according to multiple reports, West has failed to make the cut in his home state of Illinois, as well as Missouri, his adopted home state of Wyoming and Florida, while he has successfully made it into the mix in Oklahoma, Tennessee, Arkansas, Vermont, Colorado and Utah according to USA Today. KARE reported on Tuesday (Aug. 25) that West also qualified to appear on the ballot in Minnesota.
The paper previously reported that West had missed the deadline to appear on the Wisconsin ballot and that a combination of improper paperwork and a failure to gather sufficient signatures had doomed efforts to get on the roster in West Virginia, New Jersey and the key swing state of Ohio.
West faces upcoming deadlines to get on the ballot in North Dakota, Delaware, New Hampshire, Arizona, Kentucky, Mississippi and Rhode Island, according to Ballotpedia. [Editor’s note: since this story first posted, West has made the ballot in Mississippi, Kentucky, Idaho, Iowa and Louisiana and was barred by a state supreme court from appearing on the ballot in Arizona, with a judge ruling that he didn’t qualify for the Wisconsin ballot after missing a filing deadline by 14 seconds. The Ohio Supreme Court has also barred West from the ballot in that state.]
TMZ reported that West — who has spoken about his desire to restore prayer in schools and model his administration on the fictional Black utopia Wakanda from Black Panther — is currently putting a full-court press into making it onto the ballot in Arizona this week. The campaign has faced an uphill battle from jump, as it missed the deadline to appear on the ballot in 27 states — including North Carolina, Texas, New Mexico, Indiana and the District of Columbia — due to the late entry into the race.
West’s attempts to make the ballot in a number of states, including Wisconsin, New Jersey and Illinois, have reportedly faced challenges due to late filing snafus as well as questions about the legitimacy of the signatures submitted to officials, with Illinois’ State Board of Elections voting 8-0 that the MC lacked the 2,500 signatures necessary to make the cut. There have also been multiple reports that GOP operatives have been helping the floundering bid in an attempt to purposely siphon votes from Biden and clear the path for Republican Trump to win a second term.
West appeared to confirm the reports to Forbes magazine recently when confronted with the math that he can’t get on enough ballots to win the necessary 270 electoral votes and was asked if he was running just to be a spoiler to Biden, saying, “I’m not going to argue with you. Jesus is King.”
CNN, The New York Times and others have reported that GOP political operatives have been coordinating with West to get him on the ballot in several states that could be key to deciding the presidential race.
A spokesperson for the Federal Election Commission tells Billboard that the organization does not track ballot eligibility and West’s campaign has not responded to requests for information on which ballots he has qualified for or missed to date.
According to the campaign’s official website, among the planks of West’s platform are the aforementioned return of prayer to classrooms — school-sponsored prayer has been banned by a Supreme Court ruling since 1962 — reducing student loan debt, criminal justice and police reform, a focus on renewable energy and a clean environment and support for faith-based groups for the arts as a source of innovation.
During last week’s DNC, former First Lady Michelle Obama appeared to take a dig at West’s run without naming him, pointedly saying, “This is not the time to withhold our votes in protest, or play games with candidates who have no chance of winning.”
Spokespeople for West have not returned multiple requests for comment on the status of his presidential campaign.