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Here’s How Kanye Could Get on Arizona’s Presidential Ballot This Fall

Hip-hop mogul and possible presidential candidate Kanye West.
Hip-hop mogul and possible presidential candidate Kanye West. Kenny Sun/CC BY 2.0/Flickr
Kanye West shocked the world last week (sort of; it's Kanye) when he announced plans to run for president in the 2020 election.

The controversial hip-hop artist and music mogul revealed the news via Twitter on July 4, stating, “We must now realize the promise of America by trusting God, unifying our vision and building our future. I am running for president of the United States! #2020VISION.”

A week later, West hasn’t backed down from his plans. In an interview with Forbes published on Wednesday, he reiterated his intentions to run against President Donald Trump and presumptive Democratic Party nominee Joe Biden for the nation’s highest elected office.

“God just gave me the clarity and said it’s time," West told Forbes in regards to his 2020 presidential run.

In the same interview, the hip-hop artist also said he'll either run as either an independent candidate or under the banner of the "Birthday Party" (a.k.a. his new political party). West also said he's has chosen a Wyoming preacher named Michelle Tidball to serve as his vice presidential candidate.

If West plans on getting on Arizona's ballot for November's presidential election, though, he'll have to do it as an independent or write-in candidate.

According to the Arizona Secretary of State’s office, which oversees elections, there's no way Ye could launch a new political party at this point. Per the agency's website, petitions to form a new party must be filed at least 180 days before Arizona's primary election on August 4.

So much for the "Birthday Party" being a thing in Arizona in 2020.

If Kanye wants to run as an independent, it's going to take a lot of work and a lot of valid signatures from Arizona's registered independent voters. And he'd have less than two months to get it done.

click to enlarge Kanye West performing at Coachella in 2011. - NEW TIMES ARCHIVES
Kanye West performing at Coachella in 2011.
New Times archives
Any independent candidacy for president requires 39,039 signatures (or 3 percent of the total registered independent voters in Arizona) to qualify for November’s general election, according to the Secretary of State’s website. The deadline to file nomination paperwork and signatures is Friday, September 4.

In other words, Yeezy will have to hustle if he wants on the ballot in Arizona, which is set to be a key swing state in the 2020 election.

West has already missed deadlines to appear on the ballot in several other states, including Texas, New York, North Carolina, and New Mexico. A half-dozen more (such as Nevada, Florida, and Michigan) have deadlines within the next week, each requiring more than 100,000 signatures from voters to qualify.

If West decides to run as a write-in candidate in Arizona or other states, it’s a simpler process.

Per the Arizona Secretary of State’s website, West has until Thursday, September 24, to file paperwork, including letters naming his vice presidential running mate and the names of the 11 presidential electors who would cast a vote for him in the electoral college.

Running as a write-in candidate typically offers little chance of victory (in fact, no president has been elected through the process). But according to Kanye's comments in Forbes, the decision of who gets to be POTUS is up to a higher authority than the electorate.

“Because God appoints the president," he said. "If I win in 2020, then it was God’s appointment."
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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.