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Kanye West fails to qualify on Ohio ballot in November

By FARNOUSH AMIRI Report for America/Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Kanye West won’t appear on Ohio’s ballot as an unaffiliated presidential candidate this November because of mismatched information on the rapper’s signature-gathering documents, Ohio’s elections chief said Friday.

Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose rejected the nearly 15,000 signatures and other paperwork West submitted earlier this month in an attempt to run for president, an effort that Democrats say some Republicans support because they think it could draw votes from Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

LaRose’s announcement was among a number setbacks for West’s campaign this week. Also Friday, the state elections board in Illinois said West hadn’t submitted enough petition signatures and wouldn’t be on the ballot. On Thursday, Wisconsin election officials decided to keep West off the battleground state’s presidential ballot because his campaign turned his nomination papers moments after the deadline, while officials in Montana also said he fell short of petitions.

Earlier this month, West without explanation withdrew his petition to appear as a presidential candidate on New Jersey’s ballot. He also missed deadlines or was rejected in numerous others states this summer, including California, Florida and Pennsylvania.

States where he’s on the ballot include Arkansas, Colorado, Oklahoma, Utah and Vermont.

West publicly supported Republican President Donald Trump before announcing his own presidential bid on July 4.

A message was left with a West representative Friday seeking comment.

Trump’s reelection campaign has denied involvement, but GOP lawyers and activists have helped West qualify for presidential ballots in several key states, including Utah, Wisconsin and Colorado, adding to the suspicions that he’s trying to siphon support away from Biden.

Democrats, braced for a close race, are anxious about any third-party candidate drawing voters.

But the status of West’s presidential campaign and whether he is truly seeking the White House still remains unclear less than three months from election day.

Kim Kardashian West asked for empathy for her husband and said he is bipolar after West delivered an unconventional campaign introduction speech in South Carolina, proposing a $1 million payout to mothers and decrying Harriet Tubman for her work on the Underground Railroad.

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Andrew Welsh-Huggins in Columbus contributed to this report. Farnoush Amiri is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.