Wisconsin Elections Commission Votes Against Allowing Kanye West, Green Party Candidates On Ballot

Aug 21, 2020

For right now, neither rapper and producer Kanye West nor Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins will appear on the November 3 ballot for president in Wisconsin.

The Wisconsin Elections Commission made the decision Thursday night in a meeting that spanned more than five hours. Kanye West and Howie Hawkins’ running mate Angela Walker are both African American. Republican election commissioner Robert Spindell accused the Democratic Party of Wisconsin of suppressing the Black vote by trying to keep West and Walker off the ballot.

“Angela Walker is a Milwaukee native, former Milwaukee County Transit bus driver. She was an avowed social justice advocate and wants to give the Black and brown people another opportunity to do it. So this again is another example of suppression by the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, which is the plaintiff in both of these situations or on these challenges trying to tell the Blacks and the Hispanics and whomever how to vote. That you should not have a choice between … only Biden or only Trump,” Spindell said.

The commission is made up of three Democrats and three Republicans.

When it comes to Angela Walker, the commission disagreed over whether her nomination papers were valid because they list a different address than where she currently lives. For Kanye West, one of the questions surrounded whether his paperwork was turned in on time. There was a 5 p.m. deadline, and it’s estimated that West campaign associates entered the building to turn in the nomination papers seconds after 5 p.m. 

Attorney Michael Curran argued that the West campaign did indeed get the paperwork in on time and as proof pointed to the election staffer filing the paperwork on that same day. Curran said if the paperwork had been late, it would have been filed the following day.

“The only actions that truly matter with regard to the question of timeliness come down to the actions of the filing officer. And as sort of an analogy here, when a boxer is knocked out you don’t get 10 seconds to get back up. You get a 10 count and the person in control of that is the referee. And in this case, I believe the filing officers serves as the referee and they determine whether they 5 p.m. deadline has been met or not,” Curran said.

In a five to one vote, commissioners determined that West would not be on the ballot here. A legal challenge is expected on the decision over not allowing the Green Party candidates on the ballot.