American rapper Kanye West is now officially qualified to appear on Oklahoma’s presidential ballot later this year, nearly two weeks after he announced his plans to run for U.S. president in 2020.
It’s the first state in which West has met all requirements before the filing deadline.
Come November, Oklahomans might see West, 43, on the ballot as one of the Independent presidential candidates for the election. The news was confirmed by the Oklahoma State Election Board on Wednesday evening.
“Independent presidential candidate Kanye West has qualified for the general election ballot in Oklahoma. (Today is Oklahoma’s deadline for Independent & unrecognized party presidential candidates to file statements of candidacy with their petitions or filing fee),” the administrative agency wrote via Twitter.
Independent presidential candidate Kanye West has qualified for the General Election ballot in Oklahoma. (Today is Oklahoma's deadline for Independent & Unrecognized Party presidential candidates to file statements of candidacy with their petitions or filing fee.)
— Oklahoma State Election Board (@OKelections) July 15, 2020
A representative for West filed the necessary paperwork and paid the required US$35,000 fee on July 15, which was the deadline to secure a spot as an Independent presidential candidate on the state’s Nov. 3 ballot, Oklahoma Board of Elections spokeswoman Misha Mohr told the Associated Press (AP).
West was one of only three Independent candidates to pay the filing fee prior to the deadline, Mohr said. The other two were concert pianist Jade Simmons and cryptocurrency entrepreneur Brock Pierce.
Though West just barely made the cut for the Oklahoma ballot, he has already missed the deadline to qualify in several other states, and it’s currently unclear if he will be able to accumulate enough prerequisite signatures to be qualified in those states that have yet to reach their cutoff dates.
Despite paying Oklahoma’s filing fee and guaranteeing a spot for his name on the presidential ballot in the southern state, there’s still some confusion about whether West is actually running for president.
The news of his Oklahoma filing followed various reports on Tuesday and Wednesday that suggested West may have dropped out of the presidential race. The speculation began after one of the rapper’s political advisers claimed he was “out” of the race. The news came only 10 days after West had initially announced his presidential bid.
“He’s out,” Steve Kramer, a get-out-the-vote specialist, told the Intelligencer on Tuesday.
Though Kramer — who said he was hired to help West get on the Florida and South Carolina ballots — did not elaborate on his claim, he told the outlet that he would update them “once (he) gets all our stuff cancelled.”
As of this writing, Kramer’s claim that West is “out” of the political race has not been confirmed. West has not publicly commented on the matter.
West officially announced his candidacy on July 4.
“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,” the 21-time Grammy Award winner wrote on Twitter earlier this month with the hashtag #2020VISION.
— With files from the Associated Press
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