Election Staff Recommends Denying West’s Presidential Run
Nomination papers turned in several minutes late, staff note. State Elections Commission board votes on matter Thursday.
You might not be able to vote for Kanye West after all.
The hip hop artist, via an attorney, filed to run for President in Wisconsin as a member of the Birthday Party alongside vice presidential nominee Michelle Tidball and submitted the necessary paperwork.
But whether it was done in time, and with valid signatures, has become a matter of debate. The board of the Wisconsin Elections Commission is scheduled to vote on Thursday afternoon on West’s fate, but the commission staff is recommending against placing West on the ballot.
Candidates have until 5:00 p.m. on the first Tuesday in August preceding a Presidential election to file to run as an independent. An attorney for West, according to multiple accounts, didn’t enter the building until fourteen seconds after 5:00 p.m.
Multiple challenges were submitted to West’s nomination filing, with West’s team arguing in response that the paperwork is required “not later” than 5:00 p.m., giving a candidate until 5:01 p.m. to file.
That argument didn’t hold sway with the commission staff.
“In Commission staff’s opinion, the arguments presented for reading Wis. Stat. § 8.20(8)(am) to mean that a filer of nomination papers really has until 5:01 to submit their nomination papers are unpersuasive, not backed by any cited caselaw, and the Commission and its predecessor agencies have never interpreted the statute to allow filing beyond 5:00 p.m.,” wrote the commission in its recommendation to reject the ballot.
The staff report said even if it were to accept the argument, it did not have the documents by 5:01 p.m.
“Filing of nomination papers is not accomplished by stepping through the front door of the office building that houses the Commission. The Commission’s office is located on the third floor of the building. To reach the Commission’s office, an individual needs to walk down the first floor hallway, access the elevator, ride the elevator to the third floor, get out of the elevator, approach the Commission staff at the front desk and present the nomination papers for filing and when the Commission takes physical possession of the papers, they are considered filed,” says the report.
The commission will meet virtually at 3 p.m. on Thursday, August 20th to review the recommendations.
The commission is made up of a bipartisan board of three Democrats and three Republicans, a configuration that has caused them to deadlock on some issues.
The commission staff, led by administrator Meagan Wolfe, is recommending against a number of other challenges to West’s nomination papers, including his Wyoming residency status, the residency status of nominating paper circulators and “illegible” signatures.
It recommends rejecting signatures from “Mickey Mouse” and “Bernie Sanders,” as well as others missing required address fields, but sustained other signature challenges leaving West with enough signatures to appear on the ballot for that purpose.
A full copy of the report can be found on Urban Milwaukee.
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