Prove Mickey Mouse did not sign Kanye West's ballot petition, say singer's lawyers

‘Complainants are continuing this marginalisation simply because Mr West’s views and perspectives do not conform with theirs’

Justin Vallejo
New York
Wednesday 12 August 2020 18:30 BST
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Caitlyn Jenner voices support for Kanye West on Good Morning Britain

Lawyers for Kanye West have argued that signatures from Mickey Mouse and Bernie Sanders must be proven to be fake or else should be accepted on the nomination papers to qualify the rapper for the presidential ballot in Wisconsin.

Following attempts to block West from running for president in November, lawyer Michael Curran submitted a 23-page response to the Wisconsin Elections Commission saying technical challenges over signatures were “misguided and ill-informed”.

Mr Curran wrote that the burden is on the complainant to prove by “clear and convincing evidence” that the signatures are fake and should be stricken from the nomination papers.

“A complainant cannot simply raise an issue, with little or no evidence, and shift the burden to the candidate to prove validity--which is what Complainant attempts to do here,” Mr Curran wrote, as first reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Tuesday. “As such, and purported challenges, with little or no supporting evidence, should be dismissed.”

The filing was in response to a challenge of West’s nomination papers that seeks to strike 299 signatures that are said to be missing complete and accurate identifying information, plus four allegedly fake signatures belonging to Mr Sanders, Mr Mouse, and two from “Kanye West” himself.

The complaint, filed by Jeffrey A Mendell on behalf of the state Democratic Party, argued that the nominating papers were not properly submitted with the requisite number of signatures.

“Several signatories signed the nomination papers with obviously fake names,” the complaint said. “It is impossible to verify whether someone who provides a fake name is an elector who is eligible to sign a candidate’s nomination papers. Therefore, all such signatures must be stricken.”

Neither Mr West’s lawyer, Mr Curran, or the complainant’s lawyer, Mr Mendell, responded to The Independent’s request to respond to the filings.

Also included in the challenge against West appearing on the presidential ballot is that the signatures were turned in after the 4 August deadline.

Mr West’s campaign argued that, for the average observer, arriving 14 seconds after the 5 pm cutoff would be considered arriving “not later” than 5 pm. And even if that was ruled late, the nomination papers should count because state election officials had locked their agency’s door before the deadline.

The complaints against the signatures, and the timing of their delivery, were part of an organised effort by the Democratic Party and its wealthy allies that fear the candidacy of West, according to Mr Curran’s filing.

“The Kanye West campaign represents a uniting, inspiring and faith-based vision that is successfully motivating disenfranchised and previously unengaged voters to participate in the political process,” Mr Curran wrote in the filing.

“People of colour have long been marginalized in this country. In seeking to remove Kanye West from the ballot and silence the voices of those who signed to place him, the Complainants are continuing this marginalisation simply because Mr West’s views and perspectives on issues do not conform with theirs and those of the party they represent.”

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