Kanye West does not qualify to be on the presidential ballot in the key battleground of Wisconsin after missing a filing deadline.
According to Billboard, the judge made the decision on Friday, September 11th. The result upholds a bipartisan decision by the state elections commission. It’s likely to be rapidly appealed to the conservative-controlled Wisconsin Supreme Court.
Wisconsin was a swing state that Donald Trump won narrowly in 2016 and polls show that it’s likely to be tight again this year.
State law requires ballots to be mailed by September 17th to more than one million voters who have requests on file. There is also a Saturday, September 19th deadline in federal law for mailing ballots to overseas and military voters.
In West’s case, Brown County Circuit Judge John Zakowski ruled that the state elections commission was correct in determining that the musician narrowly missed a 5 p.m. filing deadline to get on the presidential ballot.
“The unfortunate fact is this dispute could have been avoided had the West representatives simply arrived earlier,” the judge said. “Candidates need to plan ahead and arrive in time to get into the building and file the papers in the office of the commission prior to the deadline, there are no exceptions under the statute or the relevant case law.”
West had argued that the deadline did not expire until 5:01 p.m. and regardless of the timing, commission staffers still accepted the papers. The commission voted that West had missed the deadline either by a few seconds or several minutes.
According to the lawsuit, commission staff should have unlocked the building’s doors at 4:30 p.m. to accommodate late-arriving filers. But the commission’s building has been locked since the coronavirus pandemic began. West’s campaign workers had to call the commission shortly before 5 p.m. to get them to unlock the doors.
A commission staff member said West’s representatives didn’t place the nomination papers on the counter until 5:01 p.m. By the time the papers were organised and officially accepted, it was several minutes past the 5 p.m. deadline.