Kanye West Can Stay On The Idaho Ballot As A Presidential Candidate, Judge Rules
An Idaho District Court judge will not block rapper Kanye West from appearing as an independent presidential candidate on the November ballot.
The Idaho Democratic Party and two voters brought the suit last week, arguing that West violated state law that requires independent political candidates to declare they have no other political affiliation. West is a registered Republican in Wyoming, which his lawyer didn’t address in court filings.
But 4th District Judge Jason Scott wrote that there are doubts as to whether the music mogul broke the law in a literal sense: simply declaring you have no political affiliation is all that the code requires, whether or not it’s true.
Because state legislators didn’t give Secretary of State Lawerence Denney the power to verify these claims, Scott said a court order requiring him to do so would go beyond the law as it’s written.
“… just as Denney may not conduct an inquiry into the truthfulness of West’s certification that he has ‘no political party affiliation,’ the Court may not do so either,” he said.
Scott also questioned whether the Idaho Democratic Party or the two voters who brought the suit had standing to do so.
Even if West were on the ballot unlawfully, he said, the two voters wouldn’t suffer any harm that wasn’t shared with the general public.
As for the Democrats, an argument could be made, Scott said, if the party needed to spend money to prevent West from siphoning off votes from its presidential candidate, Joe Biden.
However, “No evidence has been presented as to any steps the Idaho Democratic Party may take—beyond filing this action—to deal with West’s candidacy.”
"We feel we did our job to protect our voters and candidates and hold the Secretary of State accountable and will continue to do so," said Lindsey Johnson, a spokeswoman for the Idaho Democratic Party. An appeal is being discussed.
Had Scott ruled in favor of the Democrats, Denney said it would cost nearly $50,000 to reprint ballots that need to be mailed to voters overseas and military members by Sept. 18.
Follow James Dawson on Twitter @RadioDawson for more local news.
Copyright 2020 Boise State Public Radio
Member support is what makes local COVID-19 reporting possible. Support this coverage here.