Kanye West’s late-launched presidential campaign could lose its long-shot chance of capturing the White House this week unless the rapper can secure enough signatures to win a spot on the ballot in California by Friday.
West, who abruptly announced he was running for president on July 4, has already forfeited 225 Electoral College votes because he missed deadlines to file in several states with the required number of signatures.
If he is unable to secure 196,964 valid signatures in California by the close of business on Friday, it will be mathematically impossible for West to win enough Electoral College votes in November (270) to capture the White House.
Some states, including California, require independent candidates to collect signatures to appear on the ballot, while others mandate filing fees.
West has filed to appear on ballots in Arkansas, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Illinois, South Carolina and Missouri, however, the South Carolina State Election Commission said on July 20 that West won’t be on the ballot there because his campaign failed to submit the required number of signatures and West withdrew his petition to get on New Jersey’s ballot.
West has missed filing deadlines in Kansas, Maryland, North Carolina, New York, Florida, Michigan, Texas, New Mexico, West Virginia, Vermont, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Nebraska, Maine, and Nevada.
Along with California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Ohio, South Dakota, Washington and Wisconsin all have filing deadlines this week.
55. The number of Electoral College votes held by California, the most in the country. If West garnered enough signatures in California this week to get his name on the ballot, he still faces an uphill battle to register in enough states in time to have a chance at the White House. Even if he’s successful in California, for instance, missing deadlines in Wisconsin, Washington, Ohio and Hawaii would be enough to eliminate his chance at winning 270.
West has faced continued speculation about the viability and seriousness of his candidacy. In an interview with Forbes one week after he announced he was running, the rapper maintained that he was serious about his bid and intended to run under the “Birthday Party” banner as an independent candidate. Days later, reports emerged that West had dropped out of the race but in the weeks since the rapper’s campaign has made a frantic push to get on the ballot in as many states as possible.
Concerns have mounted about West’s mental health in the weeks following the start of his presidential run. West’s spouse, Kim Kardashian West, addressed her husband’s battle with bipolar disorder in a post on Instagram on July 22. “As many of you know, Kanye has bi-polar disorder,” Kardashian wrote in the post, asking for “compassion and empathy” for her family.
Since announcing his candidacy, West has peddled Covid-19 vaccine conspiracy theories and claimed the government was attempting to put “chips” inside us. During a campaign event in South Carolina in which he cried, he said abolitionist Harriet Tubman “never actually freed the slaves.”
In the interview with Forbes, West said his running mate was a Cody, Wyoming, Bible-based life coach named Michelle Tidball. TMZ reported Monday that when West filed to be on the ballot in Arkansas, he named Tidball as his running mate.