CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Rapper and music producer Kanye West’s campaign ran into trouble Tuesday on his first day of trying to get on the presidential ballot in his home state of Wyoming.
People gathering signatures on behalf of West and another presidential candidate got too close to polling locations during the state’s primary, election officials said.
The signature-gatherers for West and candidate Brock Pierce refused to keep at least 100 yards (91 meters) away, prompting election workers to call police and sheriff’s deputies at five of the seven polling locations in and around Cheyenne, Laramie County Clerk Debra Lee said.
“Some of them became quite aggressive and refused to leave,” said Lee.
Election officials at Laramie County Community College confiscated a handwritten sign that read “registered voters sign here” on one side and “Kanye West” on the other, potentially causing people to falsely believe they needed to sign West’s petition in order to vote, Lee said.
A man standing outside a polling place in Cheyenne said he worked for Pierce’s national campaign and was gathering signatures for both candidates. He declined to provide his full name. He said he was 100 yards away from the polling place entrance but he actually appeared to be closer.
Social media messages seeking comment from West agent Trevian Kutti and Pierce weren’t immediately returned Tuesday. Election officials in Casper, where a state elections official said similar violations occurred, didn’t immediately return a phone message seeking comment.
West, who once backed Republican President Donald Trump, announced last month that he had broken with Trump and would launch his own presidential bid. His campaign filed paperwork on July 15 with the Federal Election Commission.
West has so far qualified in several states including Arkansas, Oklahoma, Utah and Colorado. His effort to get on the ballot has been challenged in Wisconsin.
The reported incidents in Wyoming don’t affect whether signatures count as valid, said secretary of state’s office spokesman Will Dinneen.
Widespread problems with people electioneering too close to polling places haven’t been reported in the state in at least 20 years.
“This has been really beyond anything we’ve ever seen,” Lee said.
West announced in July he’s running for president on a ticket he calls the “Birthday Party.” West has since been gathering signatures to get on the ballot in several states.
West filed with state officials on Monday to begin collecting signatures in Wyoming. He has until next Monday to submit 4,025 valid signatures to get on the ballot.
West bought a ranch and has lived in the Cody area in northwestern Wyoming since last year.
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