Court Battles

Ohio Supreme Court rules against Kanye West bid to get on presidential ballot

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Ohio’s Supreme Court on Thursday unanimously upheld the removal of rapper Kanye West’s name from the state’s presidential ballot.

The 7-0 ruling affirmed a determination last month by Secretary of State Frank LaRose (R) that the information on West’s nominating petition did not match the petitions signed by voters.

“A signature is the most basic form of authentication and an important, time-honored, security measure to ensure that a candidate aspires to be on the ballot and that a voter is being asked to sign a legitimate petition,” LaRose said in August. “There is no doubt that the West nominating petition and declaration of candidacy failed to meet the necessary threshold for certification.”    

Specifically, LaRose said, the signature of West’s running mate Michelle Tidball was at odds with the paperwork used for the voter petitions.

An attorney for West, Curt Hartman, said West should be allowed on the ticket because both signatures were Tidball’s.

The court, however, ruled that West filed improperly even if both signatures are Tidball’s, because under state law the original statement of candidacy must be copied to all petitions.

“Requiring a candidate who files copies of a signed statement of candidacy to also file the original statement of candidacy ‘so signed’ is consistent with the statutory language” in state election law, the court ruled. “West and Tidball did not comply with this requirement and have therefore failed to demonstrate their substantial compliance with the statute.”

The decision comes a day after the Arizona Supreme Court also ruled the rapper would not appear on the ballot. In its ruling, the court said electors for West failed to file a required election document listing their names and political affiliation.

West has also failed to make the ballot in several other states, including Montana, West Virginia and Wisconsin. He has so far been given ballot access in Arkansas, Idaho, Iowa, Tennessee, Utah and Mississippi.

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