Kanye West has accused Wisconsin Democrats of spying on his presidential campaign after they claimed he submitted his nominations papers late and filed bogus signatures.
On Friday, the state’s Democratic Party filed a challenge to block the rapper from running as a third party candidate citing numerous problems with his paperwork including incorrect addresses for circulators and fake signatures.
In response to the complaint, West claimed the party hired a private investigator to spy on his team as part of an ‘organized effort of harassment and intimidation’ against his presidential campaign, according to documents obtained by TMZ.
West’s paperwork to get on the ballot for November’s presidential election was filed in Wisconsin last week.
In order to file, the rapper needed 2,000 signatures from registered voters in the state.
Kanye West has accused Wisconsin Democrats of spying on his presidential campaign after they claimed he submitted his nominations papers late and filed bogus signatures
On Friday, the state’s Democratic Party filed a challenge to block the rapper from running as a third party candidate citing numerous problems with his paperwork including fake signatures with names like ‘Mickey Mouse’ and ‘Bernie Sanders’
According to TMZ, his petitioning group, Let The Voters Decide, helped him obtain the signatures.
In last week’s complaint, Wisconsin Democrats included affidavits from six individuals who said they were duped into putting their names on West’s paperwork.
‘If the affidavits are true … crimes were committed by the West campaign,’ attorney Michael Maistelman, who gathered the affidavits, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
West also allegedly didn’t list his residence accurately.
The complaint says attorney Lane Ruhland, who has been helping West on his campaign, arrived to the state’s Elections Commissions office after 5pm on Tuesday – a few minutes past the critical deadline to file nomination papers.
The illegible signatures included two ‘Kanye West’, a ‘Mickey Mouse’ and ‘Bernie Sanders’ that were all listed at Milwaukee addresses.
Several regulator addresses were also allegedly bogus as one circulator said he lived in an Illinois area zoned for industrial use only and a second listed a residence in California where he supposedly hasn’t lived in years, the complaint says.
A woman named Cheryl Pernell of Milwaukee County in the complaint said that someone approached her in a Walmart parking lot asking if she was registered to vote and asked her to sign a document confirming she was registered, and that was used for West’s ballot effort.
‘If I had known that, I wouldn’t have signed the papers, absolutely not. Kanye West would not get my vote and I think it is a joke that he is running for president,’ she said in the affidavit.
Milwaukee resident, Wanda Thompson, said in her affidavit that she signed the petition only after the circulator said he got paid $1 per name.
‘If he hadn’t told me he was getting paid per signature, I would never have signed this nomination paper,’ Thompson said.
West’s lawyer Lane Ruhland, based in Madison, has come under fire for representing Donald Trump and West’s campaign at the same time
The complaint will be reviewed by the Elections Commission who will make a recommendation on his nomination papers to the bipartisan board. That panel is made up of three Democrats and three Republicans.
West requires at least 2,000 valid signatures to make it on the ballot.
His campaign submitted more than 2,400 signatures to state regulators.
That’s not the only filing against the Stronger singer. A second complaint was filed by Milwaukee bank attorney Joseph Santeler making the same points as the Democratic Party complaint.
‘Wisconsin election laws provide [West] over a month to collect and submit nomination papers, and his failure to do so within the time prescribed in the statute is fatal to his attempted filing,’ Santeler wrote in his challenge.
Also on Friday, the deadline for states to file challenges, neighboring state Illinois made an initial determination that West did not file enough signatures to get on the ballot in the rapper’s home state.
The Chicago native fell short by 1,300 signatures, according to a state hearing officers who reviewed the nominations submitted by West’s party.
He submitted 3,218 signatures, but a state elections board review Friday found that 60 per cent of them, or 1,928, were invalid, as per the Chicago Tribune.
The official determination will be submitted on August 21, when the finalized ballot is announced by the Illinois State Board of Elections.
Democrats have expressed concern over West’s candidacy which could take away from voters backing Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden in the election against Republican Donald Trump.
Wisconsin is a key swing state in the race that went red for Trump in 2016, by a narrow margin of 0.77 per cent.
Democrats have expressed concern over West’s candidacy which could take away from votes backing Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden in the election against Republican Donald Trump
West has missed the ballot in several states including Florida, Michigan, South Carolina (West pictured there in July) and Texas
On Thursday black Milwaukee officials held a news conference denouncing West’s run for president, slamming his campaign as a Republican plot to steal the black vote from Biden.
‘We are here to basically say that you cannot fool us. We see what is happening,’ Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley said.
‘Kanye West is supporting Trump. Do not be mistaken,’ Milwaukee County Board Chairwoman Marcelia Nicholson said last week.
Even West’s lawyer Ruhland, based in Madison, has come under fire for representing Donald Trump and West’s campaign at the same time.
On Friday a national group for left leaning Campaign for Accountability filed a complaint against Ruhland with the Office of Lawyer Regulation.
‘Simultaneous legal representation of two candidates competing for the same office is a paradigmatic example of a conflict of interest,’ Michelle Kuppersmith, the executive director of the group, said.
It’s not clear if Ruhland is a paid staffer or volunteer with West’s campaign or if she got a waiver from the Trump campaign to help out.
Ruhland hasn’t commented on the challenge.
Last week, West filed for the presidential ballot in Arkansas. He reportedly submitted the 1,000 required signatures just minutes before the noon deadline on August 3.
Election officials in Arkansas will undergo the process of verifying the signatures as legitimate.
Although West’s campaign secured Arkansas, they missed nearby Kansas.
A spokesperson for the Kansas Secretary of State’s office said they needed 5,000 signatures by noon – but nothing was turned in.
Kansas’ election rules are strict and West will no longer be able to run on the ballot. He will only receive votes in Kansas if residents write him in.
West has missed the ballot in several states including Florida, Michigan, South Carolina and Texas.
He withdrew his nomination in New Jersey following accusations of voter fraud last week.
Election law attorney Scott Salmon referred to the signature’s submitted by the rapper’s campaign as the ‘most egregious’ case of fraud he’s encountered and they were ‘almost to a degree, insulting’.
West had secured 1,237 signatures in the Garden State, but Salmon determined that around 700 of them were questionable. He needed 800 for the ballot.
Additionally, West has not observed New Jersey law and did not release the names of the canvassers involved.
And, according to Salmon, half of the electors West nominated were not eligible to vote in New Jersey.
One elector on the list was Victory Boyd, an R&B singer with close ties to West and whose father, John Boyd, acted as the rapper’s ‘spiritual adviser’ at the South Carolina presidential rally.
‘These individuals are not ‘qualified voters’ who could properly sign Mr. West’s petition and their endorsements are fatally defective,’ wrote Salmon in a letter against the petition, New Jersey Globe reports.
The ballot deadline has officially ended in 21 states and Washington, DC, which reportedly totals to 246 electoral votes.