It gives me no pleasure to report this, but Kanye West could potentially face criminal charges for electoral fraud. West is currently heading a somewhat haphazard campaign for the Presidency and, despite missing the filing deadline in many key states, had apparently successfully filed petitions in several of them. This seemed to mean that he would be on the ballot as an independent candidate in Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey and Wisconsin. However, upon verification of the signatures, some big red flags were quickly raised.
Illinois (West’s home state) announced that only 1,200 of the 3,128 signatures were valid, leading to him being removed from the ballot. In New Jersey, meanwhile, Democratic opponents alleged that there were forged signatures, with West’s team withdrawing the petition. Similar issues arose in Wisconsin, too, with critics drawing attention to signatories like “Mickey Mouse” and “Bernie Sanders,” witnesses claiming they were duped into signing and suspiciously similar handwriting being discovered throughout the document.
This doesn’t sound like a particularly well-executed scheme and New Jersey elections attorney Scott Salmon has explained the following:
“I am glad to see the Kanye campaign has realized that their petition was not going to survive here. It was so clearly deficient that it wasn’t even worth defending. I think that’s the main takeaway here. I wish it wouldn’t have gotten this far.”
In addition, The New York Times has unearthed evidence that Republican activists are aiding West’s campaign, no doubt convinced that he could siphon votes away from Joe Biden. They name Mark Jacoby, who runs the company Let the Voters Decide and has been collecting signatures for West in several states. He also pled guilty to electoral fraud in California in 2008 while working for the Republican Party.
Voter registration fraud carries a potential sentence of three years in prison, so could West end up behind bars for this? We’ll have to see, but the actions of those supporting his campaign seem pretty suspect, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few of them eventually face charges. However, if there’s material evidence proving that Kanye West was either aware of, directed or endorsed electoral fraud in his name, he could be in serious trouble.