Republicans are helping Kanye West get on the US presidential ballot in some key states, in what could be a bid to take black votes away from Democratic candidate Joe Biden.
West’s unlikely race to become president saw him qualify for Colorado’s ballot on Thursday, after he successfully secured Wisconsin, Ohio, Vermont and Arkansas.
In Colorado, one of the rapper’s nine electors was Matthew Zielinski, a former Republican congressional candidate who served as an officer with the party in Denver.
Mr Zielinski tweeted that he believes in “fair ballot access”, but refused to comment further.
Similar situations have played out in other key states where lawyers or activists with Republican ties have been involved in helping the 43-year-old star get on the ballot.
West himself has hinted he is trying to steal votes from Mr Biden, telling Forbes: “I’m not denying it.”
This has fuelled suspicions he is being pushed to run by allies of Donald Trump as a way of siphoning support away from his Democratic rival.
Mr Trump has said he “likes Kanye very much”, but added: “I have nothing to do with him being on the ballot. I’m not involved.”
The rapper could end up splitting young and African-American votes from Mr Biden, experts have claimed.
But others argue that, historically, black voters have not voted for candidates solely because they are black.
In Wisconsin, Lane Ruhland, a lawyer with long-standing affiliations with the local Republican Party, was filmed dropping off signatures to the election board on West’s behalf.
Ohio Attorney Matthew Aumann filed ballot access for West in his state after being paid thousands of dollars in consulting fees by the House and Senate Republican campaign committees, according to finance records.
The rapper’s paperwork in Arkansas lists former executive director of the American Conservative Union Gregg Keller as a point of contact.
Over in Vermont, West had an elector in Charles H Wilton. This is despite him previously being chosen as a delegate to the Republican National Convention.
West, who has previously shown his support for Donald Trump, does not have the 270 Electoral College votes needed to have a hope of getting to the White House.
This means he will not be eligible to take part in election debates, which would give him a real chance of winning.
He claims his dreams of being president should be taken seriously, but his wife Kim Kardashian has asked the public to remember he has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and to show him “compassion and empathy”.
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