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Thu, Oct. 22

Suit filed to ban Kanye West from Arizona ballot

Singer Kanye West’s attempt to get his name on the presidential election ballot in Arizona has been met with a lawsuit. West, right, is shown meeting with President Donald Trump in this Oct. 11, 2018 file photo. (Official White House photo/Public domain)

Singer Kanye West’s attempt to get his name on the presidential election ballot in Arizona has been met with a lawsuit. West, right, is shown meeting with President Donald Trump in this Oct. 11, 2018 file photo. (Official White House photo/Public domain)

PHOENIX – An Arizona resident has asked a judge to bar Kanye West from appearing on the state's Nov. 3 ballot, accusing the hip hop artist of serving as an election spoiler and arguing that a law prohibits him from running in the state as an independent presidential candidate.

West's lawyer on Wednesday reported filing just under 58,000 signatures, well over the roughly 39,000 required for independent candidates to make the ballot.

Lawyers for resident Rasean Clayton said in a lawsuit filed Monday that independent presidential candidates can appear on Arizona’s ballot if they aren’t registered with a recognized political party and gather enough voter signatures to nominate them. But Clayton’s lawyers say West, who paid dozens of workers to gather petition signatures in Arizona, isn’t qualified to be on the ballot because he’s a registered Republican. Even if West is found to have submitted enough signatures, the lawsuit said his late-in-the-game candidacy would make no difference to his chances of winning the race.

“West will not be able to qualify for the ballot in enough states to muster enough electoral votes to prevail,” Clayton’s lawyers wrote. “West’s minimal interest in playing a spoiler candidate on Arizona’s ballot is not enough to outweigh the factors favoring emergency relief.”

West has already qualified to appear on the ballot in Arkansas, Idaho, Iowa, Tennessee and Utah. He announced his intention to run for president on July 4.

A Maricopa County judge will hear arguments in the legal challenge on Thursday. Attorney Tim LaSota, who represents West in the Arizona challenge, described the lawsuit as a “last-ditch effort on the eve of the (signature filing deadline) to deprive voters of a choice.”

LaSota brushed aside criticism that West is trying to be a spoiler aimed at hurting Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s chances in Arizona. “That’s just political hyperbole,” LaSota said. “I don’t want to get into the politics of it. But obviously I think there is a lot to be achieved by someone else running for president.”

Clayton’s attorneys said the lawsuit must be resolved quickly because the deadline for Arizona’s ballots to be printed is on Sept. 8 and 9.

In a statement, Clayton described himself as a Navy veteran who doesn’t want “people to get confused voting on ballots that have disqualified people listed with everyone else who followed the law” It’s unclear if Clayton has connections to the Arizona Democratic Party, which didn’t return a call seeking comment.

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