Rapper and independent presidential candidate Kanye West tweeted bogus election results that he said showed he’s ahead of President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden in the presidential race.
The numbers West shared, supposedly showing early results out of Kentucky, were not real. They were mock election data that The Associated Press provides to customers as part of routine testing ahead of elections. Testing data is randomly generated and not based on any predetermined scenarios.
West on Tuesday evening tweeted a screenshot of the fictional numbers from Kentucky NBC affiliate’s LEX 18 News, which showed West had 40,000 votes in Kentucky and was ahead of Trump and Biden. The testing data showed that West was in third place behind the Libertarian Party’s Jo Jorgensen and Brock Pierce, who is running as an independent candidate. The false tweet had over 11,000 retweets.
“GET THE WEST WING READY !!! ... this is how I felt when I saw that Kentucky pole result,” West later tweeted, with a video of him showing off the false results on his phone.
“YE 2020 AFTER ALL? Kanye West is leading Joe Biden and Donald Trump in Kentucky precinct voting polls,” read a post from a Twitter account belonging to a site that calls itself a source of hip-hop news. The post had more than 1,500 retweets.
Twitter flagged all three tweets as “manipulated media.”
LEX 18 News in Kentucky clarified on Twitter that the results were not real numbers, and were part of a test.
“Someone discovered a cached web link that we used during June’s primary election to post Associated Press election results. The old link was still populating current AP data and showed test results, which is part of the preparation the AP does in advance of elections,” the tweet stated. “The results shown were not valid. They were simply part of a test. We regret the discovery of the cached web link and have removed the data from that page. We apologize for any confusion.”
West, who once backed Republican President Donald Trump, broke with Trump and launched his own presidential bid. His campaign filed paperwork on July 15 with the Federal Election Commission and he successfully made his way onto the ballot in Kentucky although he missed filing deadlines in several other states, including in battlegrounds such as Michigan and Florida.
Early in-person voting began on Oct. 13 in Kentucky and runs through Nov. 2.