Did Five Activist Stop Kanye From Appearing on the Illinois Ballot?

Illinois activists outraged by Kanye West’s remarks against abolitionist hero Harriet Tubman have removed him from the Illinois primary ballot, proving he did not submit enough legitimate signatures.

The Illinois State Board of Election reviewed five activists’ objections to the official petition signatures submitted by Kanye West to be a candidate for President. The findings of the board show West with only 1200 valid signatures, far short of the 2500 valid signatures needed to qualify for the ballot. The majority of signatures West submitted were from people who are not registered voters in Illinois, as required by law, and many signatures appeared to be fraudulent. West now has the choice of withdrawing his candidacy, as he did following a similar objection in New Jersey, or being officially removed from the ballot by the State Board of Elections.

“We hope Kanye West gets the help he needs on a personal level,” said Sean Tenner, one of the objectors from Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood. “But insulting and lying about Harriet Tubman, one of America’s greatest abolitionists who frequently risked her life so others could be free, is simply unacceptable from a presidential candidate. We’ve had enough divisive rhetoric like that in the past four years.”

The joint objection was filed by Reverend Mitchell Johnson of South Holland, Sean Tenner of Chicago’s Uptown Neighborhood, Denise Bradley of the Englewood neighborhood, Charles Morris of the South Shore neighborhood and Steve Spagnolo of the Albany Park neighborhood. All have been active in causes and organizations related to education about civil rights and the history of slavery. Johnson and Tenner host a program on WVON, Chicago’s most popular African-American radio station.

With his failure to get on the ballot in Illinois, it is now mathematically impossible for West to be elected President even if he won every single state where he could still get on the ballot. The ballot access deadline has passed in 21 states and DC which together hold 246 electoral votes. With his withdrawal from New Jersey (14) and eventual removal from Illinois (20) there is no path to the required 270 electoral votes.

“We need more education about Harriet Tubman’s legacy in this country – not mistruths about her,” said Reverend Johnson. “We were saddened that West disrespected her legacy and then disrespected the laws of our state in a doomed effort to get on the ballot.”

The Objectors were represented by attorney Ed Mullen. “West fell far short of the legal requirements to appear on the ballot in Illinois,” Mullen noted. “A federal court reduced the standard signature requirement from 25,000 to 2,500 because of the COVID pandemic, and West was unable to even surpass this dramatically lower threshold. West’s lack of valid petition signatures is a sign of a disorganized and not ready for prime-time campaign.”

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