Entertainer Kanye West on Friday sued to force his way onto Wisconsin’s presidential ballot after the state Elections Commission ruled he turned in his nomination papers late.
As it was when the commission rejected West’s nomination papers, the key issue of the lawsuit is what the state’s deadline of “not later than 5 p.m.” means under Wisconsin law.
The suit, filed in Brown County Circuit Court, argued the cutoff is actually when the clock strikes 5:01 p.m. and the papers were turned over at 14 seconds past 5 p.m. as an attorney representing his campaign walked into the building that houses the commission office.
The commission, split evenly between Dem and GOP appointees, voted 5-1 last week to reject that argument with members indicating the deadline is when the clock strikes 5 p.m. What’s more, commission staff testified that West’s campaign didn’t properly present the papers in the agency’s office until several minutes after 5 p.m.
While West’s campaign arrived at the front door just after 5 p.m., his representatives still had to walk down a hall and take an elevator to the third floor before turning in the papers. Even then, commission staff testified, the papers weren’t properly numbered as required before they can be accepted and thus weren’t turned in until several minutes after 5 p.m.
But in the suit, West’s attorneys sought to blame the commission for several factors it argued delayed the campaign in filing the papers. That includes the doors were locked when West’s campaign arrived and his representatives had to search for a phone number to call so a staffer could let them in.
The agency is housed in a privately-owned building.
The suit also charges the agency didn’t properly keep track of the time with the deadline approaching.
Read the lawsuit.