Rapper Kanye West is seeking an injunction to be listed as a candidate for president on ballots in West Virginia for the 2020 general election.
West, 39, currently based in Wyoming, filed his lawsuit in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of West Virginia Friday.
In his suit, West claims the West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office didn’t notify him in a timely fashion that he had fallen short of the number of valid signatures needed on petitions supporting his candidacy.
The Secretary of State’s Office notified West’s campaign on Aug. 21 that he had fallen 761 signatures short of appearing on the ballot, according to court documents.
By law, county clerks throughout West Virginia conducted drawings to determine ballot position on Aug. 25, 70 days before the general election.
That window of time, which included a weekend, wasn’t enough time for West’s campaign to appeal the Secretary of State’s determination about his candidacy, according to his lawsuit.
In the lawsuit, West asks that the state law that sets up the process for Independent candidates to be on the ballot be declared unconstitutional and that West and his vice presidential running mate, Michelle Tidball, be added to the ballot as Independent candidates.
A hearing in the case had not been scheduled as of Monday evening. The case is assigned to U.S. District Judge Irene Berger.
Secretary of State Mac Warner is represented by the West Virginia Attorney General’s Office. A request for comment to the Attorney General’s Office on Monday went unanswered.
When asked to comment, Mike Queen, director of communications for the Secretary of State’s Office, only would say that ballot positioning for candidates already had been approved, and West Virginia’s ballots for the 2020 general election were being printed.
West’s campaign is represented by J. Mark Adkins, Richard Heath Jr., Joshua Lanham and Unaiza Tyree, with Bowles Rice LLP in Charleston.
West’s campaign turned in more than 14,000 signatures on Aug. 3, the deadline for candidates with no party affiliation to turn in petitions supporting their candidacy.
Of those signatures, the Secretary of State’s Office determined 13,865 were legible, but 7,482 were declared invalid by local county clerks, according to court records.
In total, West needed 7,144 valid signatures to be listed on the ballot, Queen told HD Media last week.
To be a valid signature, the petition must be signed by a registered West Virginia voter and certified in the county in which the person is registered. If a registered voter signs a petition that lists a county different from the one in which they are registered, that can be grounds for their signature to be declared invalid.
West announced his candidacy for president in a tweet on July 4. To date, West is an Independent presidential candidate in five states — Arkansas, Colorado, Oklahoma, Utah and Vermont.
According to data Queen provided to the Gazette-Mail, 4,022 signatures supporting West’s candidacy came from Monongalia County, and 983 of them were determined to be valid from registered voters there. The remaining 3,039 signatures were determined to be invalid.
West received the most signatures — 6,510 — from Kanawha County, according to Queen’s data. In total, voters in 23 of West Virginia’s 55 counties signed petitions supporting West’s campaign.