Home>Campaigns>Kanye West bid to get on N.J. ballot faces legal challenge

Kanye West. Photo by Phil Romans.

Kanye West bid to get on N.J. ballot faces legal challenge

Salmon says West didn’t file enough valid signatures

By David Wildstein, July 29 2020 10:54 am

Kanye West’s bid to run as an independent presidential candidate in New Jersey may be in some trouble.

Just seven of the fourteen electors he filed appear to be registered to vote, voter registration records show.

Scott Salmon, an election law attorney representing himself, filed a formal challenge to West’s nominating petitions with the state Division of Elections on Wednesday morning.

Salmon is seeking to disqualify 640 of the 1,327 signatures on nominating petitions West filed on Monday in a bid to get on the New Jersey ballot.  State law requires the signatures of 800 qualified voters.

He alleges that these West petition signers are either not registered to vote or did not provide proper addresses, or in some cases, did not properly sign the petition.

“These individuals are not ‘qualified voters’ who could properly sign Mr. West’s petition and their indorsements are fatally defective,” Salmon said in a letter challenging the petition.

Half of the electors filed by West have the last name of Boyd, ranging for 83-year-old James Boyd of Scotch Plains to 21-year-old Thalia Boyd of North Bergen.

Among the Boyd elector candidates is Victory Boyd, a professional singer who was discovered by Jay-Z singing in Central Park.

Boyd declined to discuss the West for President campaign.

“I don’t give interviews because I’m a public figure myself,” she told the New Jersey Globe.  “If you want to get an interview out of me, you need to contact my publicist.”

Boyd would not disclose her connection to the other Boyd electors.

Asked if they were related to her, she would only say that “some of them are and some of them are not.”

Boyd has some indirect ties to West: her publicist, Marvet Britto, is a faily big deal in the music world and she is represented by Roc Nation, West’s former agency.

Two other West elector candidates share an address with Thalia Boyd: 23-year-old Angel Boyd, a registered voter, and Israel Boyd, who does not appear on voter registration lists.

Ojilalah Johnson of Passaic, also a West elector, appears to have supported Lawrence Hamm for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate earlier this month.  Hamm lost the primary to incumbent Cory Booker.

The deadline for independent presidential candidates to file for the November general election was July 27.

West has until 4 PM tomorrow to amend any defective petitions with the Division of Elections, but he cannot add any additional signatures.

The Division of Elections may accept or reject petitions.

If West’s petitions are rejected, the candidate has the chance to appeal that ruling to a state administrative law judge.

Should the petitions be accepted, Salmon could file his own legal challenge.  That would require an administrative law judge and the Division of Elections to go through West’s signatures one at a time so that a judicial ruling can be made on each of the 640 challenges.

The Globe obtained a copy of West’s petitions through an Open Public Records Act request filed with the Secretary of State’s office.

Kanye West Petition NJ 2020
Kanye West Petition Challenge

This story was updated at 11:32 AM and 1:28 PM.

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