Home>Feature>Kanye West headed to court in challenge of his N.J. presidential campaign petitions (Updated)

Kanye West. Photo by Mathieu Lebreton

Kanye West headed to court in challenge of his N.J. presidential campaign petitions (Updated)

New Jersey lawyer claims West lacked enough legal signatures to qualify for the general election ballot

By David Wildstein, July 30 2020 11:51 am

A challenge to Kanye West’s nominating petitions as an independent presidential candidate will he heard in court on Tuesday morning.

New Jersey Administrative Law Judge Gail Cookson will hear the challenge.

It’s not clear if West will participate in the hearing.  West did not immediately respond to a voice mail and text message sent to his cell phone at 1:11 PM, and a telephone number connected went to voice mail.

The court today rejected West’s bid to postpone the hearing until August 10.

Scott Salmon, a North Jersey election law attorney, is contesting the validity of petitions filed by West on Monday, claiming that 640 of the 1,327 signatures were flawed and should be disqualified.

West needs 800 qualified voters to get on the ballot.

Salmon alleged 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.

Typically, election challenges involve a comprehensive review of handwriting and voter registration information for each contested signature.

“The burden is on me to prove that Kanye’s petition is deficient. I’m not going to tweet out all my legal arguments right now, but the gist of what will happen is that we’ll have a screen share of the petition side-by-side with the Statewide Voter Registration System,” Salmon said.  “I have my list of voters/signatures that I believe to be deficient.”

Salmon said that he will withdraw any challenge to a voter eligible to sign West’s petition.

“If everything matches, great.  I don’t want people’s signatures getting bounced if they’re legitimate,” he said.  “If things don’t line up, the judge will make a call on whether to exclude the voter.”

This story was updated at 1:28 PM.

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