Kanye West has filed to run for President on the November 3 ballot in several states, running on the (newly-formed-yet-ubiquitous) “Birthday Party”. He has made some references to still being supportive of Republican President Donald Trump, and many of the vendors and attorneys assisting him in various states have ties to the Republican Party. Here in Arizona, attorney Tim LaSota represents West; he has been counsel for the Republican party and many Republican candidates and groups.
Musician/celebrity Kanye West cannot appear on Arizona’s ballot for President in November, a judge ruled this afternoon.
Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Scott McCoy heard oral argument, questioned the attorneys for both sides, and determined that because West is registered as a Republican, he cannot petition to be on the ballot and avoid the usual party primary system.
The challenge to West is based on the surprising facts that both West and his slate of Arizona electors (for the electoral college) were registered Republicans. (After the case was filed on Monday, the electors re-registered as independents on Tuesday.) West is attempting to qualify for the Arizona ballot under a procedure for “any qualified elector who is not a registered member of a political party that is recognized”. (A.R.S. 16-341(A). (The reason it limits persons from recognized parties is because those persons already have the opportunity to run in the Republican – or, Democratic – primary election.)
Plaintiff’s counsel Joseph Roth and Josh Bendor (from the Arizona law firm of Osborn Maledon) told McCoy that Arizona’s ballot access laws properly are designed to “avoid this kind of late stage chaos” and that allowing him on the ballot at this point would be “confusing to voters, unfair to voters.”
Timothy Berg (from Fennemore Craig), representing the slate of West electors, countered that the term “qualified elector” in the statute only applies to Arizona residents and not to Presidential candidates from other states.