KANSAS – Three of the state’s top elected Republicans on Thursday determined they lacked sufficient evidence of President Barack Obama’s birth records to decide whether to remove the Democratic nominee from the November ballot in Kansas.
The State Objections Board comprised of Secretary of State Kris Kobach, Attorney General Derek Schmidt and Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer postponed until Monday action on a complaint filed by a Manhattan resident pending review of a copy of Obama’s birth certificate from Hawaii.
“I don’t think it’s a frivolous objection,” Kobach said. “I do think the factual record could be supplemented.”
Requests were to be sent to officials in Hawaii, Arizona and Mississippi in an attempt to secure copies of the president’s birth records. Obama released a copy of his birth certificate last year, but detractors persist in advancing “birther” arguments that the Democrat lacked standing.
Removal of Obama’s name in Kansas — a state certain to side with Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney — would be strange given the president’s mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, and maternal grandparents, Stanley and Madelyn Dunham, were Kansas natives.
“My Kansas roots run deep,” Obama said during a trip to Osawatomie in December.
Joe Montgomery, who filed the ballot challenge with the all-Republican panel, said the president’s father held British and Kenyan citizenship, making Obama ineligible to run for the nation’s highest office.
Montgomery pointed to a handful of U.S. Supreme Court cases to support his claim a presidential candidate must be a “natural born citizen” from two American citizens.
“As for Mr. Obama’s citizenship, there are many doubts,” he said. “Doing the right thing can be hard and unpopular.”
A legal representative of Obama submitted a letter arguing the complaint had no merit.
No representative of the Kansas Democratic Party attended the hearing in a Topeka auditorium.
Dakota Loomis, spokesman for the state Democratic Party, declined to answer directly whether the complaint was justified. Instead, he criticized Gov. Sam Brownback’s approval of a bill reducing state income taxes.
“We’re focusing on Kansas candidates and letting people know about Brownback’s tax plan,” Loomis said.
Montgomery, who works at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University, said Obama hadn’t provided valid documentary evidence to establish his birth in the United States.
In Montgomery’s written complaint, he declared “there is substantial evidence showing that much of Mr. Obama’s alleged birth certificates have been forged or doctored, and have not been confirmed as legally valid, true and accurate.”
Meanwhile, the state board decided Democrat Tom Sawyer could remain on ballots in Wichita as a candidate for the Kansas House. Craig Gabel, president of Kansans for Liberty and an advocate of Sawyer’s opponent in the November election, said Sawyer misrepresented on state documents his actual address.
Gabel referred to the residence listed on Sawyer’s candidate filing records as having been “abandoned.”
Sawyer said the home in question had been his address since 1993, and he was standing in the residence while participating on a conference call with the state board. He had spent considerable time the past few years caring for his elderly mother after she suffered a stroke.
“This is the only house I’ve ever owned,” Sawyer said.
Kobach said the board interpreted state law on candidate residency to require clear evidence with the burden of proof on the person filing a complaint. He said candidates were required to reside at the listed residence or demonstrate intent to return there in the future.
“I’ve been to Yellowstone once,” Gabel said in response, “but I’m not sure I’m going to return.”
The panel also declared the Reform Party of Kansas had authority to place on the state’s ballot Chuck Baldwin for president instead of the national organization’s choice. In addition, the board approved a request to remove presidential candidate Roseanne Barr from Kansas ballots.