The Colorado Secretary of State says the entertainer's nascent campaign has officially succeeded in adding him as an unaffiliated candidate on Colorado's presidential ballot.
Wednesday was the deadline for unaffiliated candidates to apply for ballot access. To earn a slot, a candidate must pay the state's $1,000 fee and turn in notarized paperwork, including signatures and information from nine supporters who pledge to stand for the candidate in the Electoral College.
Colorado makes it relatively easy for candidates to qualify for the presidential ballot. In many states, candidates must submit thousands of voter signatures to secure a slot.
In this case, all it took was a local Republican political strategist reaching out to a few friends to try to help secure West’s spot on the ballot.
The candidate’s listed vice presidential choice is Michelle Tidball, a Wyoming resident who describes herself as a "Biblical life coach." Before getting into the race, West was an outspoken supporter of President Donald Trump.
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The Secretary of State’s Office said it’ll soon have a list of additional unaffiliated candidates that have qualified for the Colorado ballot.
Rachel George, a Republican strategist who worked for Republican Sen. Cory Gardner when he was in the U.S. House, was paid by West’s national campaign to find his electors.
“The reason I signed was because I think that both major parties have let a lot of Coloradans down,” said elector Seth Jacobson. He’s registered as unaffiliated but worked for former Republican Senate candidate Darryl Glenn and now works for the conservative social media site, CaucusRoom.
Jacobson said he had already decided he wasn’t going to vote for President Trump or Joe Biden. “Kanye has all the requirements to be on the ballot and I did a fair amount of research before I agreed to do this. He’s talking about issues that no else is talking about. I’m very serious about voting for him.”
Jacobson said he likes that West, who has bipolar disorder, is bringing the topic of mental health to the forefront.
“Which I personally admire. I’m not under any misconception that he’s going to win. I think third party candidates can play an important role.”
Two of the nine people who signed for West are Democrats, several others are registered Republicans with ties to state politics, including a man who ran for the state legislature, and another who formerly worked for Compass Colorado, a conservative non-profit.
Some Democrats have expressed concern that West being on the ballot could take away votes from Biden especially in swing states.
“I think young people see West running as a joke and will vote for him as one,” said Emma Tang, an 18-year-old first-time voter from Colorado Springs. She’s a registered Democrat and thinks West’s music and his wife Kim Kardashian, who has worked on criminal justice reform, could draw in a younger demographic who may not like Trump but don’t have much allegiance to either political party.
“Because young people are really disappointed in the Democrats’ nomination. I don’t know a lot about Kanye and his past,” said Tang, who plans to vote for Biden even though she said he’s not progressive enough on some of the issues she cares most about. She said if West’s candidacy is a joke, “it’s a dangerous joke.”
Former Democratic state lawmaker Terrance Carroll, who served as Colorado’s only black Speaker of the House, tweeted that he didn’t think West being on the ballot would have much impact nationally, or take Black votes away from Biden, as some Democrats have suggested Republicans are trying to do.
West has already missed the ballot deadline in a number of states. Earlier this week his campaign did file paperwork to get on the ballot in Wisconsin, a key swing state that Trump narrowly won in 2016.
Editor's Note: This story has been updated to reflect that one of the signers is no longer an employee of Compass Colorado.