Court denies effort to get Kanye West back on Virginia ballot


Kanye West makes his first presidential campaign appearance, Sunday, July 19, 2020 in North Charleston, S.C. Rapper Kanye West, in his first event since declaring himself a presidential candidate, delivered a lengthy monologue Sunday touching on topics from abortion and religion to international trade and licensing deals. Whether he’s actually seeking the nation’s highest office remains a question. (Lauren Petracca Ipetracca/The Post And Courier via AP)

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The effort to get Independent presidential candidate Kanye West back on the ballot in Virginia was denied by the state’s highest court on Thursday.

Attorneys for West sought to have the Virginia Supreme Court overturn a Richmond judge’s ruling earlier this month taking the rapper-entrepreneur off of the ballot, filing an appeal and paperwork last week to have the court decide quickly.

“This case could have thrown the election into chaos, drastically changing the ballot and potentially disenfranchising tens of thousands of Virginians during an election that has brought challenges like none we have ever dealt with before,” Attorney General Mark Herring said in a statement. “Today’s ruling will keep things on track and help to ensure that every single vote is counted in November.”

Gov. Ralph Northam said Tuesday that 790,000 people in Virginia have requested absentee ballots for November’s election, already surpassing numbers in 2016 when 566,000 absentee votes were submitted. With the overwhelming demand for absentee ballots due to the coronavirus pandemic, concern over what would have happened if West’s appeal was successful grew.

Virginia Department of Elections spokeswoman Andrea Gaines told 8News that localities have already printed out their ballots as they must mail them out 45 days before Election Day. Henrico’s Director of Elections and General Registrar Mark Coakley told 8News that the county has “ordered and printed tens of thousands of absentee ballots ready to mail this Friday.”

Coakley added that Henrico County has had 34,000 requests to mail out ballots.

This story is developing. Check back for updates.

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