TOPEKA — Kansas election officials said Thursday that they want more information before deciding whether to remove President Obama from the state’s November ballot.
The all-Republican State Objections Board heard arguments Thursday on a claim from a Manhattan resident that Obama is not eligible to be president because his father was from Kenya. The resident, Joe Montgomery, also questions whether Obama has a valid birth certificate.
The notion that Obama was born anywhere other than in Hawaii has long been discredited, and the White House released his long-form birth certificate last year. Hawaii officials also have repeatedly confirmed his citizenship.
The Kansas board is led by Secretary of State Kris Kobach, an ardent voter-ID proponent who during his successful 2010 campaign once suggested Obama should produce his long-form birth certificate.
The board, which would have the final say on the ballot absent a court challenge, plans to meet again Monday and may rule then. Time to make changes is running out, however, as ballots to overseas military personnel must be mailed before the end of September.
Montgomery, 51, said Thursday that he has been researching issues surrounding Obama’s eligibility to serve as president for the past four years. The same arguments Montgomery made Thursday have circulated widely on the Internet and among so-called "birthers," who doubt Obama’s citizenship.
“I’m here to uphold the rule of law, and the Constitution of the United States," Montgomery said after his objection was considered. “Somebody has to do it."
But the Kansas board — including Kobach, Attorney General Derek Schmidt and Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer — said Thursday it wants certified documents from Hawaii and two other states that have looked into the issue.
After Kobach’s assertion in 2010, an aide attempted to clarify Kobach’s stance and said he didn’t subscribe to “birther theories." Kobach said Thursday the board is obligated to do a thorough review of Montgomery’s objections and not make “a snap decision."
“I do think the factual record could possibly be supplemented," Kobach said during the meeting.
Specifically, Kobach said the board would like certification from Hawaii officials that the long-form birth certificate made public by the White House and available online is authentic. Hawaii officials have repeatedly stated that it is and even sent Arizona official verification of Obama’s birth records amid an inquiry there.
No one from the Democratic Party attended the Kansas meeting. Ahead of the meeting, Dakota Loomis, executive director of the Kansas Democratic Party, had dismissed the objection as "frivolous."
In a letter to Kobach, Kip Wainscott, an attorney for Obama’s campaign, said Montgomery’s claims are "without merit."
“These tired allegations are utterly baseless," Wainscott wrote.