West_Kanye

On July 19 Kanye West makes his first presidential campaign appearance in North Charleston, South Carolina.

A preliminary check of Kanye West’s paperwork to get on the Illinois presidential ballot indicates the rap artist may fall far short of the required number of signatures to appear before home-state voters on Nov. 3.

To make the ballot, West had to file 2,500 valid signatures from Illinois voters. He submitted 3,218 signatures, but a state elections board review Friday found that 60% of them, or 1,928, were invalid.

West’s lawyers can try to restore the disputed signatures by providing evidence and arguments. That’s likely to be a difficult task, however.

The Chicago-raised rapper and businessman’s late bid for the White House is viewed as an attempt to take Black votes away from Democratic candidate Joe Biden. Forbes reported that West acknowledged as much in an interview published Thursday.

News outlets have reported that West appears to be getting help from Republican operatives, some allied with President Donald Trump, to get on ballot as an independent presidential candidate in some states.

Earlier this week, Trump said he likes “Kanye very much,” but “I’m not involved.”

West’s presidential bid surfaced as he promoted the release of a new album last month named after his late mother, Donda.

In Illinois, the process to determine whether he appears on the ballot could be done within two weeks.

Friday’s preliminary findings go to a hearing examiner, who is assigned to make a recommendation on whether West should stay on the ballot. That recommendation is expected in about 10 days. Then, the Illinois State Board of Elections votes on the recommendation, potentially at its Aug. 21 meeting.

The signature verifications, which are known as binder checks, historically have carried much weight on a hearing examiner’s recommendation on whether someone is qualified to make the ballot.

Ed Mullen, one of the lawyers challenging West’s nominating petitions, said Friday’s determination means West “is virtually certain to be kicked off the ballot” in Illinois.

A separate challenge to West’s appearance on the Illinois ballot centers on the candidate not filing a running mate or a list of electors for the Electoral College, both of which are required in Illinois.

Due to the pandemic, the signature threshold independent and new party candidates need to meet to be eligible for the ballot was significantly lower than it would otherwise be — 2,500 signatures of registered voters in Illinois instead of the previous 25,000.

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(c)2020 the Chicago Tribune

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