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Kanye West’s nomination papers are challenged in Wisconsin as state Democrats say he submitted documents late and used bogus signatures including ‘Mickey Mouse’ and ‘Bernie Sanders’

Kanye West’s nomination papers are challenged in Wisconsin as state Democrats say he submitted documents late and used bogus signatures including ‘Mickey Mouse’ and ‘Bernie Sanders’

The State
  • Wisconsin Democrats filed a complaint on Friday to block Kanye West from appearing on the presidential ballot in the state in November
  • They said he submitted nomination papers late and used bogus signatures including 'Mickey Mouse' and 'Bernie Sanders' at Milwaukee addresses
  • They also included affidavits from six individuals who said they were duped into putting their names on West’s paperwork
  • One woman said she was asked if she was registered to vote and signed a document in a Walmart parking lot, not knowing it was for West's campaign
  • Wisconsin is a key swing state that narrowly went red for Trump in 2016
  • On Friday Illinois officials said West is likely to not make the ballot in his home state after falling short on legitimate signatures

Wisconsin Democrats filed a complaint to block Kanye West from appearing on the presidential ballot in the state in November saying his campaign was late to submit his nomination papers and filed bogus signatures including ‘Mickey Mouse’ and ‘Bernie Sanders’.

The state Democratic Party filed the challenge to block the rapper from running as a third party candidate on Friday citing numerous problems with his paperwork including incorrect addresses for circulators and fake signatures.

They included affidavits from six individuals who said they were duped into putting their names on West’s paperwork. He also allegedly didn’t list his residence accurately.

‘If the affidavits are true … crimes were committed by the West campaign,’ attorney Michael Maistelman, who gathered the affidavits, said to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

West shared this vision board on Twitter on Thursday for his 2020 campaign

West shared this vision board on Twitter on Thursday for his 2020 campaign

The complaint says attorney Lane Ruhland, who has been helping West on his campaign, arrived to the state’s Elections Commissions office after 5pm on Tuesday – a few minutes past the critical deadline to file nomination papers. 

The illegible signatures included two ‘Kanye West’ and a ‘Mickey Mouse’ and ‘Bernie Sanders’ all listed at Milwaukee addresses.

Several regulator addresses were also allegedly bogus as one circulator said he lived in an Illinois area zoned for industrial use only and a second listed a residence in California where he supposedly hasn’t lived in years, the complaint says.  

A woman named Cheryl Pernell of Milwaukee County in the complaint said that someone approached her in a Walmart parking lot asking if she was registered to vote and asked her to sign a document confirming she was registered, and that was used for West’s ballot effort.

‘If I had known that, I wouldn’t have signed the papers, absolutely not. Kanye West would not get my vote and I think it is a joke that he is running for president,’ she said in the affidavit. 

The illegible signatures submitted in West's nomination papers included two 'Kanye West' and a 'Mickey Mouse' and 'Bernie Sanders' all listed at Milwaukee addresses

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Vermont senator Bernie Sanders above

The illegible signatures submitted in West’s nomination papers included two ‘Kanye West’ and a ‘Mickey Mouse’ and ‘Bernie Sanders’ all listed at Milwaukee addresses

Milwaukee resident, Wanda Thompson, said in her affidavit that she signed the petition only after the circulator said he got paid $1 per name. 

‘If he hadn’t told me he was getting paid per signature, I would never have signed this nomination paper,’ Thompson said. 

The complaint will be reviewed by the Elections Commission who will make a recommendation on his nomination papers to the bipartisan board. That panel is made up of three Democrats and three Republicans.

West requires at least 2,000 valid signatures to make it on the ballot.

His campaign submitted more than 2,400 signatures to state regulators.

That’s not the only filing against the Stronger singer. A second complaint was filed by Milwaukee bank attorney Joseph Santeler making the same points as the Democratic Party complaint.

‘I’m not going to comment on the filing, but thank you for calling,’ Santeler said to the Journal Sentinel on the filing.

‘Wisconsin election laws provide [West] over a month to collect and submit nomination papers, and his failure to do so within the time prescribed in the statute is fatal to his attempted filing,’ Santeler wrote in his challenge. 

Also on Friday, the deadline for states to file challenges, neighboring state Illinois made an initial determination that West did not file enough signatures to get on the ballot in the rapper’s home state.

The Chicago native fell short by 1,300 signatures, according to a state hearing officers who reviewed the nominations submitted by West’s party. 

He submitted 3,218 signatures, but a state elections board review Friday found that 60 percent of them, or 1,928, were invalid, as per the Chicago Tribune.  

The official determination will be submitted on August 21, when the finalized ballot is announced by the Illinois State Board of Elections.

About 2,000 of the 3,219 signatures West submitted to the state election board of Illinois were not valid. The state requires 2,500 signatures to get on the ballot and 1,928 of the signatures he submitted were labeled as invalid, according to the Chicago Tribune.   

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Democrats have expressed concern over West’s candidacy which could take away from votes backing Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden in the election against Republican Donald Trump. 

Wisconsin is a key swing state in the race that narrowly went red for Trump in 2016, by a narrow margin of 0.77 percent.

Democrats have expressed concern over West's candidacy which could take away from votes backing Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden in the election against Republican Donald Trump

Democrats have expressed concern over West’s candidacy which could take away from votes backing Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden in the election against Republican Donald Trump

On Thursday black Milwaukee officials held a news conference denouncing West’s run for president, slamming his campaign as a Republican plot to steal the black vote from Biden.  

‘We are here to basically say that you cannot fool us. We see what is happening,’ Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley said.

‘Kanye West is supporting Trump. Do not be mistaken,’ Milwaukee County Board Chairwoman Marcelia Nicholson said last week. 

Even West’s lawyer Lane Ruhland, based in Madison, has come under fire for representing Donald Trump and West’s campaign at the same time.

On Friday a national group for left leaning Campaign for Accountability filed a complaint against Ruhland with the Office of Lawyer Regulation.

‘Simultaneous legal representation of two candidates competing for the same office is a paradigmatic example of a conflict of interest,’ Michelle Kuppersmith, the executive director of the group, said.

It’s not clear if Ruhland is a paid staffer or volunteer with West’s campaign or if she got a waiver from the Trump campaign to help out. 

Ruhland hasn’t commented on the challenge.

West has missed the ballot in several states including Florida, Michigan, South Carolina and Texas and he withdrew his nomination in New Jersey following accusations of voter fraud last week.

The ballot deadline has officially ended in 21 states and Washington, DC which reportedly totals to 246 electoral votes. 

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