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No, Kanye West is not running for President…yet

July 8, 2020, 7:25 PM UTC

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Kanye West is running for President, or at least he says he is. But the rapper, producer, and fashion mogul hasn’t made anything official yet, and deadlines are quickly approaching.

Over the course of a four-hour interview with Forbes in which he called vaccines “the mark of the beast,” he admitted that he had never voted in his life and falsely claimed that Planned Parenthood was a white-supremacist plot. He also acknowledged that he hadn’t made a final decision on whether to run as an independent candidate for President. 

He’ll have to decide soon, as he’s already missed the filing deadlines to be included on a number of state ballots as an independent candidate. 

West said in the interview that if he doesn’t make a decision about running for office within the next 30 days, he’ll miss the majority of deadlines to file. He said he’d try to retroactively be included on ballots he missed the deadline for, citing COVID-19. “I’m speaking with experts, I’m going to speak with Jared Kushner, the White House, with Biden,” said West. But presidential candidate Joe Biden and Jared Kushner have nothing to do with state ballot deadlines and have no power to change dates.

So how will West get on ballots this November?

There’s no official or formal deadline to run for President of the United States. Instead, states have their own sets of guidelines and dates, referred to as ballot access laws. 

There are three ways for Americans to become candidates for President:

  • Campaigning for a major party nomination typically begins years in advance. For the 2020 election, candidates had to meet primary deadlines in 2019, pay certain fees, and collect signatures.
  • Independent candidates have to petition each state to be included in ballots and often have to pay a small filing fee or collect a certain number of signatures by a deadline. The first deadline for the 2020 elections was in March, but the majority of states have July and August deadlines. 
  • Nearly anyone can launch a campaign to be a write-in candidate, but 33 states require potential candidates to file some paperwork ahead of the general election. Nine states don’t allow write-ins at all. 

West has indicated he intends to run as an independent. Though he also said that he would “run as a Republican if Trump wasn’t there,” indicating that he may try to nab the party nomination in 2024.

So far, West has missed registration deadlines to be on the ballots of North Carolina, Texas, New Mexico, and Indiana. The deadlines for Nevada, Delaware, Florida, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Michigan are all within the next seven days and require up to 130,000 signatures and fees to be paid. Considering that West said his campaign currently consists of his wife, Kim Kardashian West, and Elon Musk, it seems like getting on the ballots in those states within the next week will be a difficult task to complete. 

Even West has hedged his campaign a bit. “Let’s see if the appointing is at 2020 or if it’s 2024—because God appoints the President,” he told Forbes. “If I win in 2020 then it was God’s appointment. If I win in 2024 then that was God’s appointment.”