Kanye West at a rally in North Charleston, South Carolina for his 2020 presidential campaign.
Photo Credit: Nice4What via Wikimedia Commons (CC-By-SA 4.0)

DES MOINES, Iowa – The State Objection Panel that includes Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate, Attorney General Tom Miller, and State Auditor Rob Sand, unanimously voted to dismiss two challenges to Kanye West’s nominating petitions as a non-affiliated candidate for President.

West submitted over 3700 petitions to the Iowa Secretary of State’s office representing over 60 counties above the threshold required for non-affiliated candidates in a presidential race.

The first challenge was from Becky Miller of Waterloo, who identified 19 signatures that she said had incorrect addresses or lacked a legible signature.

Nick Mauro, an attorney based in Des Moines who represented West, said that the campaign stood by those signatures.

Matt Gannon from the Attorney General’s office said that the Iowa Secretary of State’s office is not required and lacks the resources to check every signature. He said he found that some of the addresses that were flagged in the objection were legitimate residences. He also noted that a signature that is just illegible does not disqualify that signature based on past panel precedent.

“The really has to point out in somewhat specific terms a general problem or a general theme of signatures or grouping of signatures that would put in jeopardy the required amount,” Miller said.

Even if the signatures included in the objection were thrown out, West still would have more than enough signatures to remain on the ballot, so the objection was dismissed.

Brad Schroeder, an attorney based in Des Moines, represented the second objector. He said that West’s nominating petitions were invalid because he failed to disclose that he was a registered Republican in his home state of Wyoming on his candidacy and nominating paperwork.

Mauro pointed out that the Iowa Code did not require that disclosure for non-affiliated candidates in a general election.

Pate pointed out that people often confuse the candidate requirements for a closed party with the requirements for a general election. He said he believed West followed the law and the guidelines given by his office.

Miller noted that the panel “very much tries to err on the side of allowing people to be on the ballot.”

He said they do that “for important policy and constitutional reasons.”

“We want people to be able to run, and we want voters to be able to choose from a large group,” Miller added.

“I voted to dismiss the objections to Kanye’s candidacy because in my view of the law he had legally qualified for the ballot. While some people may think his candidacy is not a serious one and is for the sole purpose of hurting former Vice President Joe Biden’s chances in November, politics is not a part of this question. This was an official action, in my official office. The law rules and I’m glad the outcome was determined by law rather than partisanship,” Sand explained in a released statement.

Bryan Jack Holder, the Libertarian nominee in Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District, had an objection to his nomination petitions withdrawn so he will stay on the ballot.

The last objection the panel dealt with, an objection to the nomination of Ernest Gigaroa, Republican for Iowa House District 13. A special nominating convention nominated Gigaroa, and the challenge centered around the belief that there was not an appropriate call to convention. Gigaroa, represented by Charlie Smithson, provided documentation that was not the case, and the panel unanimously voted to dismiss the objection.

Listen to the State Objection Panel’s meeting below:

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