Kanye West has continued his road to presidency and has now made efforts to get on the ballot in Ohio – a key swing state that could decided who sits in the Oval Office after November.
His latest focus on the Buckeye state comes after a tumultuous month that included a bizarre first campaign rally in South Carolina, a series of tweets that touched on everything from abortion to cheating allegations lodged at his wife Kim Kardashian and concerns over the rapper’s mental health.
And all the while, a number of states inched closer to the independent filing deadlines that Kanye, 43, will need to make to be a serious contender.
But to register for the ballot in Ohio, Kanye will need to amass 5,000 valid signatures by 5pm this upcoming Wednesday.
TMZ reports that around 90 people are currently canvasing in Ohio for signatures.
Kanye has reportedly hired the company, Let the Voters Decide, to help collect the needed signatures in Ohio, West Virginia and Arkansas.
Securing Ohio’s ballot would be a monumental victory for Kanye since the swing state has remained a consistent indicator of who will become President of the United States.
President Trump clinched Ohio for the 2016 election by fewer than 5,000 votes.
Ohio has 16 electoral votes that account for the seventh most in the United States.
Kanye has already made some ground last month after he paid $35,000 to qualify for the presidential ballot in Oklahoma.
He was able to do so after he officially filled out the Form 2: Statement of Candidacy form, shows he raised or spent more than $5,000 in campaign activity.
Kanye also completed first FEC form required to become a presidential candidate, the Statement of Organization, and will reportedly be running under the ‘Birthday Party.’
The State Election Board in Oklahoma received a notarized document on July 15 from Kanye’s campaign declaring his candidacy for president as an independent.
Oklahoma, which has a population of nearly 4 million people amounting to seven Electoral College votes, is very Republican and went 65.3 per cent for Donald Trump in 2016.
Less than 29 per cent voted for Hillary Clinton and nearly 6 per cent went for Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson.
Kanye has a better chance of getting on the ballots in Arkansas and West Virginia, which both have August 3 deadlines.
Volunteers for his campaign have been out in the field in West Virginia since last week, spreading awareness his presidential run and seeking signatures.
The volunteers have reportedly targeted malls and popular restaurants so he can qualify for the ballot in more states.
He only needs 7,000 signatures to qualify in West Virginia, and it’s just 1,000 signatures in Arkansas.
His campaign has already filed the required petitions to appear on the ballot in his Illinois, Missouri and New Jersey, but an issue regarding invalid signatures could dent plans.
In Illinois, the Intelligencer reports that Kanye’s campaign barely amassed the 2,500 signatures required after desperate volunteers canvassed in a supermarket parking lots next to the Board of Elections building with just hours to spare.
But the validity of those signatures were quickly called into question and was hit with three separate objections over their legitimacy.
One objector, Sean Tenner, claimed to find only 1,000 valid signatures among the approximately 3,200 submitted.
Alvin Boutte, the CEO of Bronzeville Academy Charter School in Chicago, told Chicago Sun Times that most of the signatures on Kanye’s ballot don’t match signatures on the state’s voter rolls.
Boutte also claimed that the addresses listed on Kanye’s forms don’t align with state records either. The objection was filed by attorney Pericles Abbasi on Boutte’s behalf
‘We’ve already seen what happens when people who are mentally unfit are in office,’ said Boutte, referring to President Trump.
‘So I thought it was important to challenge someone who most of us see as mentally unfit right now.’
Kanye West has been open about his struggles with bipolar disorder. Last week, Kim penned a letter on Instagram that addressed her husband’s mental health.
‘Those that understand mental illness or even compulsive behavior know that the family is powerless unless the member is a minor.,’ she said.
‘I understand Kanye is subject to criticism because he is a public figure and his actions at times can cause strong opinions and emotions. He is a brilliant but complicated person who on top of the pressures of being an artist and a black man, who experienced the painful loss of his mother, and has to deal with the pressure and isolation that is heightened by his bi-polar disorder.
‘Those who are close with Kanye know his heart and understand his words some times do not align with his intentions.’
In New Jersey, he faced similar accusations of forged signatures by election law attorney Scott Salmon.
Salmon referred to the signature’s submitted by the rapper’s campaign as the ‘most egregious’ case of fraud he’s encountered and they were ‘almost to a degree, insulting.’
Kanye had secured 1,237 signatures in the Garden State, but Salmon determined that around 700 of them were questionable. He needed 800 for the ballot.
Additionally, Kanye has not observed New Jersey law and did not released the names of the canvassers involved.
And, according to Salmon, half of the electors Kanye nominated were not eligible to vote in New Jersey.
One elector on the list was Victory Boyd, an R&B singer with close ties to Kanye and whose father, John Boyd, acted as the rapper’s ‘spiritual adviser’ at the South Carolina presidential rally.
‘These individuals are not ‘qualified voters’ who could properly sign Mr. West’s petition and their endorsements are fatally defective,’ wrote Salmon in a letter against the petition, New Jersey Globe reports.
‘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,
The court hearing for the case will reportedly happen on Tuesday of this week.
‘If everything matches, great. I don’t want people’s signatures getting bounced if they’re legitimate,’ wrote Salmon. ‘If things don’t line up, the judge will make a call on whether to exclude the voter
In Missouri, presidential candidates must submit 10,000 signatures. A state spokesperson told People that election officials began reviewing the signatures last week.
West’s FEC filing shows funds for his campaign will go through First Bank of Wyoming – an unsurprising move as the Chicago native, who lives in California with his pop culture icon wife Kim Kardashian West and their four children, has expressed his desire to move there.
He first announced his formal intent to run for President of the United States with a tweet on the Fourth of July.
‘We must now realize the promise of America by trusting God, unifying our vision and building our future. I am running for president of the United States! #2020VISION’ West wrote.
Kanye has mentioned his interest in the presidency in previous years, but his latest declaration has been met with this time with action.
Just two days ago, Kanye broke his silence on Twitter to insist that his tears over abortion at his presidential rally were not a meltdown, and voiced ‘concern for the world that feels you shouldn’t cry about this.’
He added backlash over his comments were an attempt to ‘Distract, Discredit, Dismiss To Destroy.’
Kanye wrote: ‘I cried at the thought of aborting my first born and everyone was so concerned about me. I’m concerned for the world that feels you shouldn’t cry about this subject.’
In a second tweet, Kanye added: There is a tactic of 4 D’s: Distract, Discredit, Dismiss To Destroy.
‘I am quite alright Take a second and think about what is being projected here.’
In his third tweet, he shared an article from the New York Post about the Planned Parenthood of Greater New York removing Margaret Sanger’s name from a Lower Manhattan clinic.
Sanger,’ who created organizations that grew into Planned Parenthood, will have her name removed because of her connection to ‘eugenics.
A fourth tweet read: ‘Over 22,500,000 black babies have been aborted over the past 50 years.’
Last week, Kanye and Kim were spotted having an emotional conversation, after his wife flew to Cody, Wyoming, for crisis talks.
It is the first time that the married couple has been pictured together since before his campaign rally in North Charleston, South Carolina, where he officially launched his unlikely bid for presidency.
The pair – who share children North, seven; Saint, four; Chicago, two; and Psalm, one – were seen having what appears to be crisis talks in his car after leaving a Wendy’s fast-food restaurant near his $14 million ranch.
Most recently, Kim hit back at rumors she was ‘torn’ about possibly divorcing Kanye.
A representative for the mother-of-four has shut down the claims on the star’s behalf, telling MailOnline the reports are ‘absolutely not true’.
In the report, shared by People, a source is quoted as saying: ‘She isn’t getting back what she needs from Kanye. She was to the point that she flew to Cody to basically tell him their marriage is over and to say goodbye.’
People reports that musician and fashion designer Kanye is eager to work on their marriage, recently issuing a public apology to her on Twitter after sharing the personal news that Kim contemplated aborting their oldest child.
However, a source claimed the apology is as far as his reparative efforts have gone, explaining: ‘He doesn’t seem to get what she is saying. He hasn’t changed anything that she told him needs to change.’
‘Kim is very torn,’ added the source. ‘The last thing she wants is to be divorced with four kids. She knows that she will be fine financially, but her concerns are the kids and the partnership. She is moving towards a divorce, but who knows if she will actually sign papers.’
Kanye is said to have been based at his $14 million Wyoming ranch this past year, while Kim would visit only once a month with their four children.
Clearly the distance between the couple has been a source of contention, as during Kanye’s Twitter meltdown last week, he stated: ‘My family must live next to me,’ before adding: ‘It’s not up to E or NBC anymore.’
Kanye said last Tuesday that Kim was ‘out of line’ to meet Meek Mill at a hotel in Los Angeles to talk about ‘prison reform’, and blasted her mother Kris Jenner as ‘Kris Jong-Un’ while accusing the pair of ‘white supremacy.’
However, Kanye apologized to his wife in a tweet last week, amid reports that he went to hospital to be treated for anxiety.
The rapper tweeted: ‘I would like to apologize to my wife Kim for going public with something that was a private matter. I did not cover her like she has covered me.to [sic] Kim I want to say I know I hurt you. Please forgive me. Thank you for always being there for me.’
Prior to his meltdown on Twitter, Kanye sparked concern during a rambling and chaotic speech at his first presidential rally at North Charleston’s Exquis Event Center in South Carolina.
He shockingly revealed that he and his wife Kim had considered aborting their daughter North, who is now seven, before he got a ‘message from God’.
His unscripted speech, which came two weeks after he announced his unlikely bid for president, is said to have left his wife and her family upset and alarmed.
During the event, the rapper appeared to acknowledge that his comments would be met with a negative reaction by his family. He explained that if his wife were to divorce him after making the comments, he would still be thankful that she had North.
‘Even if my wife were to divorce me after this speech, she brought North into this world, when I did not want to,’ he said.
Kanye has been open about his struggle with bipolar disorder and, in 2016, he spent time in hospital after a ‘psychiatric emergency’ that forced him to cancel 21 concert dates.
During his rally speech, Kanye, who was dressed in a bullet-proof vest with 2020 shaved into his hair, shared that in 2013 Kim ‘had the pills in her hand’ to have an abortion before he was inspired by God to have the child.
‘My girlfriend called me screaming, crying. I’m a rapper. And she said I’m pregnant. She was crying,’ he said.
Kanye said he was weighing up what to do, when he received what he interpreted as a sign from God while he was working on his laptop in Paris.
‘My screen went black and white. And God said, if you f*** with my vision I f*** with yours,’ he yelled. ‘And I called my girlfriend and said we’re going to have this child.
‘Even if my wife were to divorce me after this speech, she brought North into this world, when I did not want to.’
The rapper went on to break down in tears as he shouted: ‘She had the pills in her hand! I almost killed my daughter!’
Kanye also revealed that his father wanted to abort him but his mother Donda ‘saved his life’.
‘My mom saved my life. My dad wanted to abort me. My mom saved my life. There would have been no Kanye West because my dad was too busy,’ he said.
Kanye spent much of the rally discussing abortion, and announced that he wanted women to be given money by the government for bearing children, to discourage abortion.
‘Abortion should be legal but the option of maximum increase should be available,’ he said.
‘Everybody who has a baby gets a million dollars or something. No more Plan B – Plan A.’