Kanye West’s troubled and often disarrayed presidential campaign hit a series of setbacks this week as the rapper’s Birthday Party failed to qualify for the ballot in West Virginia and Wisconsin and, more importantly, missed a crucial Federal Election Commission deadline.
The West Virginia Secretary of State’s office revealed Friday that West’s campaign submitted markedly more than the 7,144 signatures need from registered voters to certify for the ballot. However, upon closer inspection, of the 15,000 signatures the campaign delivered, only 6,383 were confirmed and registered West Virginia voters, the Associated Press reported, making West ineligible for the state’s ballot.
The Birthday Party will also be left off Wisconsin’s ballot after the state’s bipartisan Elections Commission ruled that West’s campaign missed the August 4th, 5 p.m. deadline to file the necessary paperwork by mere minutes, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
The Elections Commission was forced to take on the case after GOP-tied lawyers argued in favor of the Birthday Party’s inclusion in the battleground state, but ultimately the commission — composed of three Democrats and three Republicans — voted 5-1 to keep West off the ballot, even though the rapper did acquire enough signatures to quality.
In Wisconsin, the Republicans’ reported goal was to accumulate 107,000 votes for West, the same total Libertarian Gary Johnson pulled in the state in the 2016 election. Trump won Wisconsin by less than 25,000 votes.
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Despite Republicans’ best efforts to keep West in the race as a spoiler, the Birthday Party — which reportedly hired GOP operatives Let Voters Decide — missed perhaps its most important deadline on Thursday when the campaign failed to file a financial report stating if West had raised or spent $100,000 on his campaign; the FEC told TMZ that, as of Saturday, they had not received the paperwork that was due August 20th.
However, there was some good news for the Birthday Party this week as West qualified for Utah’s ballot, making it the fifth state — after Arkansas, Colorado, Oklahoma and Vermont — to recognize the rapper’s presidential campaign.