Democrat-linked law firm sues to keep Kanye West off Virginia ballot

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A law firm linked to prominent Democrats filed a lawsuit Tuesday to keep rapper Kanye West off the ballot in Virginia as the deadline for printing ballots approaches.

Perkins Coie attorneys filed a lawsuit in Richmond Circuit Court for two people who claim they were tricked into signing as electors in support of West’s candidacy for the presidency, The Associated Press reported

Matthan Wilson and Bryan Wright, both Suffolk residents, allege in the suit that they were misled by those collecting signatures, according to The Washington Post.

The lawsuit alleges that 11 of the 13 people who signed an “Elector Oath” for the rapper may be invalid, with at least four signatures being collected under false pretenses, the Post reported. The plaintiffs request that West’s name not be included in the ballots. 

Virginia is required to mail absentee ballots by Sept. 19.

“Defendants have a legal duty to ensure that only the names of the candidates who meet the requirements of Virginia law are placed on the ballots in the Commonwealth of Virginia,” the lawsuit said, according to the Post.

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring filed for an emergency hearing for the lawsuit on Wednesday, saying the state “does not tolerate any type of election fraud.”

“Similarly, this Court has had little patience for keeping candidates on the ballot who have used underhanded and fraudulent tactics to ‘steal a spot on the ballot,’” he said in his court filing.

Virginia’s Board of Elections determined last week that the rapper had received 5,000 petition signatures, at least 200 of them from each congressional district, and the 13 electors, according to the Post.

Virginia’s Department of Elections told The Hill it does not comment on pending litigation.

West launched his bid for the presidency on the Fourth of July this year after previously backing Trump as president. 

Democrats have publicly suspected Republicans are using the rapper’s campaign to take Black votes away from Democratic nominee Joe Biden, specifically in swing states. Republican operatives have helped with West’s campaign in at least five states, according to the Post. 

West has seen varying degrees of success in getting his name on different state ballots. He has made the cut in a number of states including Minnesota, Arkansas, Colorado, Oklahoma, Utah and Vermont. 

In other states, he has not met the requirements to make the ballot, and in Wisconsin and West Virginia, West has filed lawsuits to earn a spot on the ballots.

Tags 2020 election 2020 presidential election ballots Joe Biden Kanye West Kanye West presidential bid Virginia

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