Judge Rules Kanye West Stays Off Ballot in Wisconsin
Sunday, 13 September 2020 09:47 AM
Rapper Kanye West does not qualify to be on the presidential ballot in battleground Wisconsin after missing a filing deadline, a judge ruled late Friday, upholding a bipartisan decision by the state elections commission.
The decision is likely to be rapidly appealed to the conservative- controlled Wisconsin Supreme Court. That court put the mailing of absentee ballots on hold Thursday while it considers whether Green Party presidential candidate Howie Hawkins should be added.
The delay is being closely watched in Wisconsin, a swing state that President Donald Trump narrowly won in 2016 and that polls show is tight again this year. State law requires ballots to be mailed by Sept. 17 to more than 1 million voters who have requests on file. There is also a Sept. 19 deadline in federal law for mailing ballots to overseas and military voters.
Those deadlines could force the Wisconsin Supreme Court, controlled 4-3 by conservatives, to act within a matter of days on who should be on the ballot. The state elections commission has argued that printing new ballots this late would not only be expensive, but could also cause confusion and disorder" and may not even be feasible.
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.
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You snooze, you lose.