Is it legal for Kanye West to run for president in 2020? And here's why he can't represent either party
Kanye West, on July 4, Saturday, announced that he is running for president. However, it is not yet clear whether he plans to run for the current 2020 presidential race or an election in the future. He took to Twitter on the Fourth of July to announce: "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." If the rapper is running for the current elections, will it be possible for him to do it so late in the 2020 election cycle?
West's declaration to run now would be a late registration and it is likely that the rapper would have to register as an independent in multiple states if he wishes to make his way to the ballot. It is highly unlikely West would unseat President Donald Trump as the Republican Party nominee or former Vice President Joe Biden as the presumptive Democratic Party nominee, leaving the rapper to run as an independent candidate. However, an independent candidate run has its own requirements.
According to BallotPedia, an independent presidential candidate is required petition for placement on the general election ballot in all 50 states, including Washington DC. "A handful of states may allow an independent candidate to pay a filing fee in lieu of submitting a petition," the website, a nonprofit and nonpartisan online political encyclopedia, states. "The methods for calculating how many signatures are required vary from state to state, as do the actual signature requirements. For instance, some states establish a flat signature requirement. Other states calculate signature requirements as percentages of voter registration or votes cast for a given office.”
It appears that West, at this juncture, would also not be able to register in a few key states, including Texas, New York, and Illinois. White House Correspondent for Yahoo News, Hunter Walker, took to Twitter to state that these "three [states] are of the top six in terms of electoral college votes. There are several other deadlines coming up in the next couple weeks." Multiple states in the country also have various registration qualifications, which include complying with the required signatures and filing information.
If not an independent candidate, West could also opt for being a write-in candidate, however, this also comes with a set of requirements. A write-in presidential candidate is one whose name does not appear on the ballot, but voters may still vote for the person by writing in their name during polls. Nearly 33 states “require a write-in presidential candidate to file some paperwork in advance of an election. In nine states, write-in voting for presidential candidates is not permitted. The remaining states do not require presidential write-in candidates to file special paperwork before the election," according to BallotPedia.
All things into consideration, it is possible for West to run for the current presidential election and register in the available states. His run, however, would likely not win him a victory but has the potential to impact the 2020 polls by taking votes from either Trump or Biden.