Emergency hearing on Kanye’s ballot quest set for Thursday
All Va. ballots set to be printed by Friday, and some already have West as candidate
Updated 4:30 p.m.
Claiming that Virginia electors for Kanye West — hip-hop superstar, presidential hopeful and husband of Kim Kardashian — were obtained fraudulently, Attorney General Mark Herring requested an emergency hearing in Richmond Circuit Court on Wednesday to stop West’s name from appearing on the state’s ballots.
The hearing has been set for 2:30 p.m. Thursday in Judge Joi Taylor’s courtroom, according to Herring’s spokeswoman.
The state is under pressure, as some ballots have already been printed with West’s name, and the rest are due to be printed by Sept. 4 so they can be mailed to absentee voters, including those overseas or on military missions, by Sept. 19.
West’s application as a presidential candidate on Virginia’s ballot was turned in Aug. 21 to the Virginia Board of Elections. All qualified candidates must have notarized papers with the names of 13 electors who swear an oath that they “will, if elected, cast [their] ballot for the candidates for president and vice president named in the petition,” according to state law. Candidates also must file petitions containing 5,000 signatures of registered voters, 200 from each congressional district. As an independent candidate, West also was required to turn in a notarized “oath” for independent and third-party candidates. His running mate is Michelle Tidball, a spiritual coach who lives in Cody, Wyoming, where West also owns a ranch.
Everything looked fine on the surface, according to Herring’s motion, with verifiable signatures from the 13 electors and the notary’s stamp, but two electors claimed earlier this week they were misled into supporting West, who is widely viewed as a spoiler candidate to benefit President Donald Trump, although West says they are not in cahoots.
Plaintiffs Matthan Wilson and Bryan Wright, both of Suffolk, filed suit Tuesday, saying that they signed electors’ oaths under false pretenses — and that neither support West’s candidacy. In the suit, Wilson said he was riding his bike when he was approached by a representative of the West campaign, who asked him to sign “to be an ‘elector for the state'” but never mentioned that he was committing to vote for West in the Electoral College.
“Kanye West’s name was never mentioned,” Wilson said, according to the motion. He only learned what the document was after he was contacted by a news reporter. Similarly, Wright, who calls himself a “committed Republican,” said he did not know he had agreed to be an elector for the West-Tidball ticket.
In total, 11 of the 13 electors could be disqualified because of irregularities with notarization or alleged false pretenses, according to the suit brought by Wilson and Wright, and the attorney general says there may be “deficiencies” in all 13.
“The commonwealth of Virginia, including the state elections officials and entities named as defendants, does not tolerate any type of election fraud,” Herring said in a statement.