There have been multiple sightings in recent days of canvassers in Iowa gathering signatures to get Kanye West and the Green Party on the state’s presidential ballot line. Often stationed outside grocery and large retail stores and gas stations, different Iowans have witnessed them collecting signatures for West, the Green Party or both at the same time.
Several canvassers were seen outside the South Side Walmart this afternoon with petitions for the Green Party. When pressed on whether they were with Iowa’s Green Party, they said they had were with the Green Party of Florida. Earlier in the week, a Democratic activist ran into similar men at a nearby Hy-Vee who had both Green Party and West petition forms.
A reporter for ABC 5 tweeted earlier today that she found people collecting signatures for West at a different South Side grocery store. They said that they’d been hired by an “independent agency” to do so.
Spotted a couple ppl in the Hy-Vee parking lot on Fleur Dr. in Des Moines gathering signatures to get Kanye on the IA ballot, though they are not affiliated with his campaign. They told me they were hired by an independent agency that works for different causes to get signatures.
— Eva Andersen (@EvainIowa) August 12, 2020
The deadline for a presidential candidate to file in Iowa is this Friday, August 14, at 5:00 p.m.
Last week, an effort with significant similarities drew national headlines out of Wisconsin. There, a Republican attorney who represents Donald Trump’s campaign delivered petitions for West collected with the help of many out-of-state canvassers, including some from Florida. In that state, several black canvassers also worked outside Walmarts and other stores in parts of Milwaukee with a large minority population.
That operation finished up when their petitions were turned in last week on August 4, several days before the sightings began in Iowa.
Although West has qualified for the ballot in a few states, the Wisconsin signatures are under serious scrutiny.
In a legal challenge to the petitions, Wisconsin voters claimed the petition circulators did not tell them that their signatures were going to put West on the ballot. One reported that a canvasser said signing the form was to “support increasing minority representation.” Several circulators listed addresses from other states that weren’t actually residential addresses.
Wisconsin voters provided affidavits of the interactions they had with the canvassers in order to help the legal case.
Trump’s campaign and their supporters have been very open about their goal behind backing West’s candidacy: they believe it will siphon away black votes from Joe Biden. Whether that would actually be the strategic outcome is unclear, but it is obvious that West is in the race to act as a spoiler. He will likely not appear on enough state ballots to even reach the number of electoral votes to win the presidency were his campaign to somehow take off.
To get on the ballot as a presidential candidate in Iowa, you must collect 1,500 signatures from ten separate counties. Such a requirement is relatively easy to achieve, but still requires a concerted effort to accomplish.
by Pat Rynard
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