Kansas Goes Birther: State Board Considers Removing Obama From Ballot

September 13, 2012 6:18 p.m.
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Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, an informal advisor to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, said on Thursday he and his fellow members of a state board were considering removing President Barack Obama from the Kansas ballot this November.

Kobach is part of the State Objections Board along with Attorney General Derek Schmidt and Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, all Republicans. The Topeka Capital-Journal reported that on Thursday the board agreed to consider whether to take Obama off the ballot because they said they lacked sufficient evidence about his birth certificate.“I don’t think it’s a frivolous objection,” Kobach said, according to the Capital-Journal. “I do think the factual record could be supplemented.”

The board is looking at a complaint filed by Joe Montgomery, of Manhattan, Kan., who claimed the Obama is not a natural born U.S. citizen and so is ineligible to be president. The man appears to be part of a group of conspiracy theorists known as “birthers,” who deny Obama’s birth certificate is real.

Late Thursday, Kobach told TPM in an email conversation that he made his “frivolous objection” comment at the end of the meeting and was responding to a specific question.

“A ‘frivolous’ argument, in legal terms, is one that cannot reasonably be made under any circumstances,” Kobach wrote. “The objection passed that very low threshold, which is not saying much.”

The board will send records requests to Hawaii, Arizona and Mississippi for more documentation of Obama’s birth. They plan to meet again on Monday to discuss the matter. Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett questioned Obama’s birth certificate earlier this year and also briefly considered removing him from the ballot.

Obama released a copy of his long-form birth certificate in 2011, but conspiracy theories about his place of birth have endured. The certificate shows he was born in 1961 in Hawaii. His mother was a native of Kansas.

In his emails to TPM, Kobach also said more records “could easily be obtained, and should be obtained, from the relevant states before issuing any decision.” He declined to say whether he personally believes Obama in a natural born U.S. citizen, but said he might be more willing to speak on Monday “after the matter is closed.”

The Romney campaign did not immediately respond to TPM’s request for comment. Romney accepted Kobach’s endorsement in January. His campaign acknowledged in April that Kobach is an informal advisor. A major advocate of voter ID laws and measures against illegal immigrants, Kobach has also been instrumental in shepherding immigration planks into the GOP platform this year.

Late update: Montgomery withdrew his complaint on Friday, citing “intimidation” directed at him and people around him.

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