A board of three elected Republican officials decided to allow President Barack Obama to remain on the Kansas ballot during a brief meeting on Monday, despite the protest of California lawyer/dentist Orly Taitz, arguably the nation’s most infamous “birther.”
The unanimous vote brought a swift end to a saga which began Thursday evening when the Kansas Objections Board considered a complaint from a state resident seeking to exclude Obama from the ballot. That resident, Joe Montgomery of Manhattan, Kan., originally said he believed Obama was not a natural born U.S. citizen and therefore was ineligible to qualify for reelection. But he withdrew his objection on Friday, making Monday’s meeting more or less a formality to close the matter.
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, Attorney General Derek Schmidt and Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer voted to close the matter during the 15-minute meeting. They did so without making a ruling about the president’s citizenship. State Election Director Brad Bryant told TPM, however, that the board added a certification of Obama’s place of birth that Hawaii sent Kansas over the weekend into the record before bringing the matter to a close.
“In light of the withdraw, there wasn’t another issue before the board, they didn’t have to deny the objection,” Bryant said. “Actually, there was a motion to deny the objection but [Kobach] said there wasn’t any reason to because it had been withdrawn and there wasn’t any issue before the board. The effect is President Obama’s name is on the ballot. It was never removed.”
Bryant said Taitz wanted to continue to debate the matter but Kobach told her the deadline to file an objection had passed.
“I didn’t know her until I started receiving emails over the weekend, submissions of documents by email,” Bryant said. “So she showed up and wanted to speak but wasn’t allowed to, but she did get interviewed by several press people.”
Kobach, who told TPM last week he might answer questions about his personal beliefs about whether Obama was a natural-born citizen after the matter was closed, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Additional reporting by Evan McMorris-Santoro.