Kanye West Won't Appear on Arizona's November Ballot

Hip-hop mogul and wannabe presidential candidate Kanye West.
Hip-hop mogul and wannabe presidential candidate Kanye West. Kenny Sun/CC BY 2.0/Flickr
Kanye West can't appear on the November ballot in Arizona as a presidential candidate, a judge ruled late this afternoon.

Yesterday, representatives of Kanye West submitted 57,892 signatures to the Arizona Secretary of State's Office to qualify for the general election as an independent candidate; 39,039 valid signatures are required to appear on the November ballot in Arizona.

But opponents of West's presidential bid had filed a lawsuit last week to block West from appearing on the ballot. And in his ruling today, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge M. Scott McCoy sided with the plaintiffs, asserting that West can't run as an independent because he is registered as a Republican in Wyoming.

West had argued that state law only prohibits people from running as independents if they are members of the  Arizona Democratic and Republican parties, and that his Wyoming status was thus not prohibitive in Arizona.

But McCoy stated that the most "sensible reading" of Arizona law "prohibits Mr. West's nomination" and that the plaintiffs — those opposing West's inclusion on the ballot — were likely to win on their arguments. He also noted that the plaintiffs had demonstrated "possibility of irreparable injury" due to the fact that ballots will be printed soon and would feature West absent an injunction, a move that could risk letting voters cast ballots for a disqualified candidate.

West's quixotic attempt to get on the ballot as a presidential candidate in Arizona was, unsurprisingly, not without controversy. Reports emerged in recent days that his representatives were using a variety of misleading and deceptive tactics to obtain signatures. Many believe his entire presidential campaign is thought to be a Republican-backed ploy to siphon off votes and help President Donald Trump win reelection.

Read the full ruling below:
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Josh Kelety is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. Previously, he worked as a reporter for the Inlander and Seattle Weekly.
Contact: Josh Kelety