Judge bars Kanye West from appearing on Arizona ballot amid concerns he would cause ‘irreparable harm’ to democracy

Billionaire rapper blocked from appearing on ballots in two states 

Gino Spocchia
Friday 04 September 2020 10:26
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Judges in Arizona and Virginia have ruled that rapper Kanye West cannot appear on ballots as a presidential candidate.

In a ruling on Thursday, judge Scott McCoy concluded that an Arizona voter who challenged Mr West’s candidacy had shown possible irreparable harm to elections because “the relative hardships favour him.”

Lawyers had meanwhile argued that having West’s name on the ballot would create confusion for voters.

The billionaire’s campaign had, less than 24 hours before the court decision, turned in almost 58,000 nominating signatures, well over the 39,000 needed to appear on the Arizona ballot.

According to the Associated Press, more than 120 people living in other states had also registered in Arizona as paid signature gatherers for Mr West, who announced his presidential campaign on 4 July, in the past 10 days alone.

Mr West’s name will appear on the ballot in several states, including Arkansas, Idaho, Iowa, Tennessee and Utah, whilst lawsuits have been submitted in some states where he failed to qualify.

Among those states are Ohio, Montana, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Virginia, where a judge also barred Mr West from appearing on ballots on Thursday.

Speaking following the decision, an attorney accused the West campaign of acquiring fraudulent nominating signatures.

“Their signatures are obtained by being told they were doing one thing and then their signature was used for another purpose,” said Justin Sheldon, to NBC 12.

“So their testimony was if they had actually been told what they were going to be used for, they definitely would not have been signing these pieces of paper.”

The West campaign has been contacted for comment.

West will appeal the Arizona ruling in the state’s supreme court, his lawyer Tim LaSota said on Thursday.

Mr LaSota has spent the past month downplaying criticism over West’s apparent attempt at spoiling the Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s chances in Arizona and other states, following an admission that he was “walking for president”.

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