One Last Development for Today

I just received an email from Erica Easter, the Chief of Staff from the Office of the Secretary. Here is a copy of our conversation to this point:

FOIA Officer
Erica Easter
Office of the Secretary
John A. Wilson Building
1350 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Suite 419
Washington, DC 20004
Erica.Easter@dc.gov
Phone: (202) 727-6306
Fax: (202) 727-3582

Ms. Easter,

According to http://app.dc.gov/apps/about.asp?page=foia&type=dsf&referrer=os.dc.gov&agency_id=1040&osNav=31372, "The FOIA Officer is the principal contact point within OS for advice and policy guidance on matters pertaining to the administration of the FOIA." I was hoping, therefore, that you might be able to help me in making an official request for documents.In the document I have attached to this email, under heading 601: Declaration of Candidacy and Affidavit of Qualifications it states, "601.3 The Declaration of Candidacy filed by the candidate shall contain the following information.... (h) A statement that the candidate meets the qualifications for holding office.

Although it is difficult for me to ascertain from the document itselff whether or not this provision applies to Presidential candidates, my hope is that it does. If this is the case, I would like to submit a FOIA request for the Declaration of Candidacy from the Democratic and Republican Presidential candidates for the 2008 election year cycle. The documents may be emailed to me at juriggs@yahoo.com, or mailed to the address provided above.Thank you for your time and attention to this matter.

Your Fellow Citizen,

Justin W. Riggs
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From: Easter, Erica (EOM) Erica.Easter@dc.gov
Subject: Re: FOIA Request: Affidavit of Eligibility for Presidential Candidates
To: juriggs@yahoo.com
Date: Saturday, November 29, 2008, 8:22 PM

Mr. Riggs,

The records you seek are not held by the Government of the District of Columbia but by the Federal Government. You should direct this request to the US Government.

Thank you,

Erica Easter
Chief of Staff
Office of the Secretary
(202) 340-7532
------------

Ms. Easter,

Thank you very much for your prompt reply. Could you, by chance, point me in the right direction as to whom I might direct my request? "The US Government" is a maze of frightening proportions for someone like me... Any help you could provide would be greatly appreciated.

Justin
------------

This could be an important development, because Ms. Easter's reply seems to prove that there are documents held by the Federal government that relate to a Presidential candidate's eligibility to hold office. If I can obtain this document, there should be a certifying party, and I can address my questions to that individual. As far as I know, this is the first evidence of this kind on a Federal level, which is interesing. In some ways, it only muddies the waters further: are both the Federal government and the State parties responsible for certifying Presidential candidates? Time will tell, I believe...

UPDATE 12-01-08

Ms. Easter replied and informed me that she didn't know what office to contact, but recommended the FEC.

One Simple Question Becomes Three More Difficult Ones

Updated 11-29-08

Originally, there was only one question I was trying to answer, but at this point there are two additional questions I'm interested in. Here is the new post, with all three questions:

------------
If we have requirements that must be met in order to serve as the POTUS, I assume there is a process in place to make sure that those requirements are met.

1) What is the name of the individual, individuals, or group who is authorized and responsible for certifying that Presidential candidates are eligible to hold the office of President?

2) At what point in the campaign does the certification occur? (I'd like to see a chronology of the certification process)

3) What documentary proof is the candidate required to provide to the certifier so that he/she can be certified as eligible? (I'd like to see copies of each of these documents)

Now We Know the Who (Kind of) - UPDATED

Update 11/29/08

It seems that the pieces of the puzzle are beginning to come together. This morning I woke up to interesting news. At http://americamustknow.com/Documents/southcarolinabologna.pdf I found a document from the Chair of the South Carolina Democratic party certifying that the party's candidates were and are eligible to hold the offices they were running for. This would, of course, include the Presidential candidate.

Being interested in the matter, I of course drafted a letter to Ms. Fowler right away. Here it is in its entirety:

Chairwoman Fowler,

According to a document from you to the South Carolina Election Commission dated August 14, 2008, you stated that:

"In accordance with South Carolina Code of Laws 7-13-350 and 7-11-15, as amended, the South Carolina Democratic Party is pleased to submit our list of Democratic candidates for the 2008 general election ballot.

The South Carolina Democratic Party certifies that each candidate meets, or will meet by the time of the general election, or as otherwise required by law, the qualifications for the office for which he/she has filed.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our office at 803-799-7798."

Instead of contacting your office by phone, I thought email might be more convenient. I have three questions that I hope you might be able to answer for me:

1) What individual or group of individuals was legally responsible for certifying that Barack Obama was and is eligible to hold the office of President?

2) Will you please provide a detailed chronology of the certification process, including the date and time that the final determination to certify was made?

3) Will you please provide a complete list of all documentary evidence that was required from then-Senator Obama by your office in regards to the certification process.

If for any reason you cannot provide some or all of the information I have requested, please provide specific and detailed reasoning as to why that information was not or may not be released to the public.

I respectfully request that a written response be sent to this email address (juriggs@yahoo.com) no later than 12:00 pm, Thursday December the 4th, and thank you for your time and attention to this matter.

Your Fellow Citizen,

Justin W. Riggs
------------

Original Post

Here's a good breakthrough. Tonight, based upon the recommendation of a comment left on another site, I went and found the Charter and Bylaws of the United States Democratic Party. After sifting through that, I was led to a document called "The Delegate Selection Rules For the 2008 Democratic National Convention". It was issued by the Democratic Party of the United States, and seems to be approved by Governor Howard Dean, Chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

In that document, on page 18, it states (I don't seem to have any way to attach the file, but it can be found at http://s3.amazonaws.com/apache.3cdn.net/3e5b3bfa1c1718d07f_6rm6bhyc4.pdf):


K. 1. Based on the right of the Democratic Party to freely assemble and to determine the
criteria for its candidates, it is determined that all candidates for the Democratic
nomination for President or Vice President shall:

a. be registered to vote, and shall have been registered to vote in the last
election for the office of President and Vice President; and

b. have demonstrated a commitment to the goals and objectives of the
Democratic Party as determined by the National Chair and will participate
in the Convention in good faith.

2. It is further determined that these requirements are in addition to the requirements set forth by the United States Constitution and any law of the United States. (my emphasis)

Here we can see that the Democratic Party explicitly states that their Presidential candidate shall meet several requirements, including those "set forth by the Constitution". What's missing is, of course, a) who within the party makes sure that the candidate meets the requirements, b) when they are supposed to do this, and c) what evidence is required of the candidate to prove eligibility. This is a big step forward, though. Now we know where to focus our efforts.

If there are any readers out there who would like to help in this effort, simply write your state's Democratic Party headquarters, and then the national headquarters. Ask (don't demand) for this information to be released to the public. Write more than once. One lesson I've learned about government is that nothing is achieved through force - it is achieved through constant and steady pressure.

The party has set out its requirements for all to see. Now they need to share with us how they ensure those requirements are met.

National Party Chairmen

I must admit, I am an impatient man. Instead of waiting to hear back from the State parties, I feel compelled to write the national chairmen for the two major parties at this time. The longer this draws out with no answer, the more uneasy I feel. In the pursuit of truth we cannot act too swiftly, is the principle I will rest on at this time. Apologies forthcoming should they be necessary.

Here are the two letters to Chairman Duncan and Chairman Dean, in their entirety:

------------
Chairman Duncan,

I am seeking information regarding what individual or group of individuals was responsible for certifying that Senator John McCain was eligible to hold the Office of President. The reason I am approaching you is that the Colorado Secretary of the State's office has released the following statement in regards to this issue:

"Dear Concerned Voter: The Colorado Secretary of State's office, has received numerous calls and emails inquiring into the procedures undertaken to ensure that presidential candidates are qualified to be placed on the ballot. This email is intended to answer your questions regarding the qualifications of candidates for the office of President of the United States.First, please understand that, pursuant to Colorado statute, the process of nominating and certifying presidential candidates to the ballot is party-oriented; candidates are certified to the state and, therefore, the legal responsibility for confirming citizenship (or any other qualification) lies with the certifying entity.Any questions regarding the qualifications of a presidential candidate should be directed to the parties, who are the certifying entities in this case. Second, if you wish to challenge the qualifications of a Presidential candidate, the proper forum is the district court, not the Secretary of State's office. Because the nomination and certification of candidates is purely a party function, this office lacks the authority to investigate complaints levied against a particular candidate's eligibility or qualifications for office. Please see section 1-4-909, C.R.S., for more information regarding challenges to a candidate's qualifications.In sum, please direct any inquiries regarding the qualifications of candidates to the respective parties. If you wish to challenge these qualifications, you must do so in district court. Thank you for contacting the Secretary of State's office."
As you are the Republican National Chairman, I was hoping you might be able to point me in the right direction in regards to how I might obtain this information.

May I please note that I am seeking the name or names of those who bear the legal responsibility for certifying the Presidential candidates eligibility. If you yourself do not possess a knowledge of this information, would you be so kind as to recommend whom I might contact to ascertain who the individual or group of indivuals are that certified the Republican Presidential candidate for President as eligible in this most recent election cycle.

I thank you in advance for your time, and request that a written reply be made as soon as reasonably possible - preferably within 3 business days.

Your Fellow Citizen,

Justin W. Riggs

------------
Chairman Dean,

I am seeking information regarding what individual or group of individuals was responsible for certifying that Senator Barack Obama was eligible to hold the Office of President. The reason I am approaching you is that the Colorado Secretary of the State's office has released the following statement in regards to this issue:

"Dear Concerned Voter: The Colorado Secretary of State's office, has received numerous calls and emails inquiring into the procedures undertaken to ensure that presidential candidates are qualified to be placed on the ballot. This email is intended to answer your questions regarding the qualifications of candidates for the office of President of the United States.First, please understand that, pursuant to Colorado statute, the process of nominating and certifying presidential candidates to the ballot is party-oriented; candidates are certified to the state and, therefore, the legal responsibility for confirming citizenship (or any other qualification) lies with the certifying entity.Any questions regarding the qualifications of a presidential candidate should be directed to the parties, who are the certifying entities in this case. Second, if you wish to challenge the qualifications of a Presidential candidate, the proper forum is the district court, not the Secretary of State's office. Because the nomination and certification of candidates is purely a party function, this office lacks the authority to investigate complaints levied against a particular candidate's eligibility or qualifications for office. Please see section 1-4-909, C.R.S., for more information regarding challenges to a candidate's qualifications.In sum, please direct any inquiries regarding the qualifications of candidates to the respective parties. If you wish to challenge these qualifications, you must do so in district court. Thank you for contacting the Secretary of State's office."
As you are the Democratic National Chairman, I was hoping you might be able to point me in the right direction in regards to how I might obtain this information.

May I please note that I am seeking the name or names of those who bear the legal responsibility for certifying the Presidential candidate's eligibility. If you yourself do not possess a knowledge of this information, would you be so kind as to recommend whom I might contact to ascertain who the individual or group of indivuals are that certified the Democratic Presidential candidate as eligible in this most recent election cycle.

I thank you in advance for your time, and request that a written reply be made as soon as reasonably possible - preferably within 3 business days.

Your Fellow Citizen,

Justin W. Riggs

--------------
Shortly after sending my message to the Republican National Chairman, I received the following:

(The message was titled "Thank you for your thoughts and comments")

Thank you for contacting the Republican National Committee. We certainlyappreciated your email, and will include your thoughts in our report to the Chairman. Please do not hesitate to contact us in the future withany of your thoughts, opinions or observations.

Office of Constituent Services
Republican National Committee
info@gop.com

My feeling is that my thoughts and feelings might not make it to the Chairman intact. Another route will be necessary, it appears.

Is Arkansas the Answer?

What is an Affidavit of Eligibility? Or, a better question for my purposes might be, who witnesses it? And does that witness have a legal duty to ensure that the candidate is eligible, or only that he declares that he is eligible? Hopefully, I'll find out the answer to these questions very soon.

On November 27, 2008 I sent a letter to Mary Lou Slinkard, a County Clerk in the State of Arkansas. Here is the letter I sent:

(my personal information)

November 26, 2008

COUNTY CLERK
Mary Lou Slinkard
State of Arkansas
215 E Central Ave
Bentonville, AR 72712
(479) 271-1013
http://us.mc448.mail.yahoo.com/mc/compose?to=mslinkard@co.benton.ar.us


RECORDS REQUEST

Dear Records Request Officer:

According to a document retrieved from http://www.co.benton.ar.us/BCClerk/FILING%20PROCEDURES%202008%20SBEC.pdf on November 26, 2008, all Political Party Candidates running for Federal office must file an Affidavit of Eligibility with your office.

Pursuant to the state open records act, I request access to and copies of an Affidavit of Eligibility form for all presidential and vice presidential candidates on the November 4, 2008 General Election ballot.

Because this request is for public, non-commercial use, I request that any fee be waived. If a fee is required, please notify me in writing (email will be fine) what the fee will be, at which time I will choose to renew or abandon my request.

If my request is denied in whole or part, I ask that you justify all deletions by reference to specific exemptions of the act.

Thank you for your assistance.

Sincerely,


Justin W. Riggs

I'll update this post as soon as I hear back.

Another Try at the State Parties

Earlier, I contacted the Democratic state party to enquire as to whom was responsible for certifying their Presidential candidate as eligible for the office. To this point, I have not received a reply. Today, I wrote to both party's chairpeople - perhaps writing an individual will be more effective. Following is the text of these letters (they are nearly identical, so you need not read both unless you are so inclined):

NOTE: After sending my letter to Chairwoman Waak, I realized I had not edited it appropriately. The version shown here is the correct, edited version.


Chairman Wadhams,

I am seeking information regarding what individual or group of individuals was responsible for certifying that Senator John McCain was eligible to hold the Office of President. The reason I am approaching you is that the Colorado Secretary of the State's office has released the following statement in regards to this issue:

"Dear Concerned Voter: The Colorado Secretary of State's office, has received numerous calls and emails inquiring into the procedures undertaken to ensure that presidential candidates are qualified to be placed on the ballot. This email is intended to answer your questions regarding the qualifications of candidates for the office of President of the United States.

First, please understand that, pursuant to Colorado statute, the process of nominating and certifying presidential candidates to the ballot is party-oriented; candidates are certified to the state and, therefore, the legal responsibility for confirming citizenship (or any other qualification) lies with the certifying entity. Any questions regarding the qualifications of a presidential candidate should be directed to the parties, who are the certifying entities in this case.

Second, if you wish to challenge the qualifications of a Presidential candidate, the proper forum is the district court, not the Secretary of State's office. Because the nomination and certification of candidates is purely a party function, this office lacks the authority to investigate complaints levied against a particular candidate's eligibility or qualifications for office. Please see section 1-4-909, C.R.S., for more information regarding challenges to a candidate's qualifications.

In sum, please direct any inquiries regarding the qualifications of candidates to the respective parties. If you wish to challenge these qualifications, you must do so in district court. Thank you for contacting the Secretary of State's office."

As you are the chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, I thought it best to approach you first.

If it is not the state party that bears this legal responsibility, I would be much obliged if you might recommend whom I should contact in the national party to ascertain who the individual or group of indivuals are that certified that the Democratic Presidential candidate for President was eligible this election cycle.

I thank you in advance for your time, and request that a written reply be made as soon as reasonably possible - preferably within 3 business days.

Your Fellow Citizen,

Justin W. Riggs

------------


Chairwoman Waak,

If you read my earlier message, you will note that I am making the same request of Republican Chairman Dick Wadhams as I am of you. I apologize for my oversight when editing the letter to send to you. Here is the same request, with the appropriate titles.

I am seeking information regarding what individual or group was responsible for certifying that Senator Barack Obama was eligible to hold the Office of President. The reason I am approaching you is that the Colorado Secretary of the State's office has released the following statement in regards to this issue:

"Dear Concerned Voter: The Colorado Secretary of State's office, has received numerous calls and emails inquiring into the procedures undertaken to ensure that presidential candidates are qualified to be placed on the ballot. This email is intended to answer your questions regarding the qualifications of candidates for the office of President of the United States.

First, please understand that, pursuant to Colorado statute, the process of nominating and certifying presidential candidates to the ballot is party-oriented; candidates are certified to the state and, therefore, the legal responsibility for confirming citizenship (or any other qualification) lies with the certifying entity. Any questions regarding the qualifications of a presidential candidate should be directed to the parties, who are the certifying entities in this case.

Second, if you wish to challenge the qualifications of a Presidential candidate, the proper forum is the district court, not the Secretary of State's office. Because the nomination and certification of candidates is purely a party function, this office lacks the authority to investigate complaints levied against a particular candidate's eligibility or qualifications for office. Please see section 1-4-909, C.R.S., for more information regarding challenges to a candidate's qualifications.

In sum, please direct any inquiries regarding the qualifications of candidates to the respective parties. If you wish to challenge these qualifications, you must do so in district court. Thank you for contacting the Secretary of State's office."

As you are the chairwoman of the Colorado Democratic Party, I thought it best to approach you first. If it is not the state party that bears this legal responsibility, I would be much obliged if you might recommend whom I should contact in the national party to ascertain who the individual or group of indivuals are that certified that the Democratic Presidential candidate for President was eligible this election cycle.

I thank you in advance for your time, and request that a written reply be made as soon as reasonably possible - preferably within 3 business days.

Your Fellow Citizen,

Justin W. Riggs

Almost Exciting

Last night, as I was researching, breaking news occured: someone had found a document that showed that Nancy Pelosi had certified Barack Obama as eligible to hold the Office of President. I was elated - here was my answer! I contacted the individual who had the document, and asked him to email it to me as soon as possible. Graciously, he sent it over within minutes. Unfortunately, the document didn't show what I was hoping. Instead, it just showed that Pelosi had certified that Obama had been nominated to be the Democratic Party's candidate for President - quite a different thing. Here's a link to the document:

http://countusout.wordpress.com/2008/11/26/foia-request-response-from-va-document-from-va-sos-signed-by-nancy-pelosi-stating-that-pelosi-certified-obamas-qualifications/dnc-certification_of_nomination-082908-2/

After seeing this, I felt like I needed to post a comment, making sure that everyone understood what the document actually said. I did, and eventually, it was turned into a post on another site. Here's the link to that:

http://countusout.wordpress.com/2008/11/27/pelosi-certifying-the-party-nominated-obama/#comment-3552

Hopefully, we'll get to the bottom of this. I guess it wouldn't hurt to contact Ms. Pelosi and ask her if she knows who certified Obama as eligible. Howard Dean as well, since he's the Chairman of the party. This project is starting to eat up a bit of time!!

Some Small Confusion

In Wrotnowski vs Bysiewicz, a lawsuit originally filed in Connecticut, the Plaintiff references an email from Bysiewicz in which she states:

“Likewise, neither the Connecticut General Statutes nor the Constitution of the State of Connecticut authorizes me to investigate a Presidential candidate’s eligibility to run for the office of President of the United States. Because this is a matter prescribed in the Constitution of the United States, and absent any authority and/or procedures in our state constitution, the question of the verification of a Presidential candidate’s status as a “natural born” citizen is a federal matter subject to U.S. Congressional action…”

This leaves me a little bit confused, because as you'll remember, my Secretary of State's office said that the question of verification of a Presidential candidate's status was the candidate's party's legal responsibility. This Secretary of State says that verification is a "federal matter subject to U.S. Congressional action...". I don't even know what that means!

Later in his filing, Mr.Wrotnowski claims that "the “national system” to which Secretary Bysiewicz refers to does not exist and/or has provided no remedy." He mentions that the FEC does not verify any candidates eligibility (which means we can cross another organization off our list!). But there is that pesky "and/or" in there.

What "Congressional action" is the SoS referring to? Does it or does it not exist? Looks like more homework for me...

The Colorado Democratic Party



After confirming that NARA and my Secretary of State don't have the authority to certify a Presidential candidate's eligibility, I followed the trail to the Colorado Democratic Party. My SoS' office said that "the legal responsibility for confirming citizenship... lies with the certifying entity (which is the Democratic Party).

I started with the CDP, even though I think they'll probably have to point me to the national party headquarters. No point in contacting national HQ, just to find out I should have contacted the state!

Here's the letter I sent to the CDP, in its entirety:


Hi! My name is Justin Riggs, and I'm trying to figure out who is responsible for certifying that Presidential candidates are eligible to be placed on our state ballot.

I started out at the NARA website, but they stated that, "The Office of the Federal Register does not have the authority to handle issues related to the general election, such as candidate qualifications." They recommended I contact my Secretary of State, so I did.

After requesting information from the office of the SoS, I found a reply online from them to someone who shared my curiosity, in which they stated: "the process of nominating and certifying presidential candidates to the ballot is party-oriented; candidates are certified to the state and, therefore, the legal responsibility for confirming citizenship (or any other qualification) lies with the certifying entity. Any questions regarding the qualifications of a presidential candidate should be directed to the parties, who are the certifying entities in this case." So here I am.

Could you please tell me who within your party is responsible for certifying that your candidates are eligible to run for office?

I appreciate your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Justin W. Riggs

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I'll let you know what I hear back, as soon as I hear it!

Somebody Else Who Doesn't Have Authority - I Think

So, after looking at NARA's website and seeing that they don't have the authority to certify candidates, I took their advice and contacted my Secretary of State's office. I wrote three different letters, but I'll only post the one about the Presidential candidates here:

Sent to http://www.elections.colorado.gov/DDefault.aspx?tid=637

Your Email: juriggs@yahoo.com
Your Name: Justin Riggs
Subject: Ensuring candidates meet qualifications

In a document posted on your website entitled "ACCESS TO COLORADO GENERAL ELECTION BALLOT; CANDIDATES FOR PRESIDENT AND VICE PRESIDENT" it states that a Presidential candidate must:

a) be a natural-born citizen
b) be 35 years of age or older
c) have been 14 years a resident within the United States

How do you ensure that the qualifications you set out in this document are met? What documentary proof do you require?

Thanks so much for taking the time to respond to my questions.

Sincerely,

Justin W. Riggs

------------
But minutes after I sent my letters, I stumbled across this posting on http://freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2137448/replies?c=14 (formatted by me for readability)

"Apparently we have to take the DNC's word that Obama is A-ok.

An email from a friend just now: Dear Concerned Voter: The Colorado Secretary of State's office, has received numerous calls and emails inquiring into the procedures undertaken to ensure that presidential candidates are qualified to be placed on the ballot. This email is intended to answer your questions regarding the qualifications of candidates for the office of President of the United States.

First, please understand that, pursuant to Colorado statute, the process of nominating and certifying presidential candidates to the ballot is party-oriented; candidates are certified to the state and, therefore, the legal responsibility for confirming citizenship (or any other qualification) lies with the certifying entity.

Any questions regarding the qualifications of a presidential candidate should be directed to the parties, who are the certifying entities in this case. Second, if you wish to challenge the qualifications of a Presidential candidate, the proper forum is the district court, not the Secretary of State's office. Because the nomination and certification of candidates is purely a party function, this office lacks the authority to investigate complaints levied against a particular candidate's eligibility or qualifications for office. Please see section 1-4-909, C.R.S., for more information regarding challenges to a candidate's qualifications.

In sum, please direct any inquiries regarding the qualifications of candidates to the respective parties. If you wish to challenge these qualifications, you must do so in district court. Thank you for contacting the Secretary of State's office.

Elections Division
Colorado Secretary of State Elections Division
1700 Broadway, Suite 270 Denver, CO 80290

So while this wasn't a response to my letter, I assume I'll get one very similar to it (I wish I had known about this before I wrote my letter - I could have somebody some time). As you can see, this letter is very helpful. It tells us:

a) The Secretary of State's (SoS) office does not have the authority to certify candidates.
b) "the process of nominating and certifying presidential candidates to the ballot is party-oriented." So we're going to need to go to the Colorado Democratic Party next...
c) "the legal responsibility for confirming citizenship (or any other qualification) lies with the certifying entity". This is pretty strong language. They're telling us that the Democratic party has a legal obligation to certify their candidate before they present them to the SoS. So theoretically, our search should almost be over - we should find someone in the party who was authorized to certify the candidate, and there should be documentation surrounding that process.
d) if we want to challenge a particular candidate's eligibility, we should do it through the district court. I'm not particularly interested in this - but others might be, and the SoS just told us where to file our grievance. They even told us what statute to look up - that was nice of them, right?

Phew! That's a lot of info. The most important piece of information (as far as I'm concerned) is that the party is responsible for certifying that their candidate is eligible for the office. So let's find someone to ask from the Colorado Democratic Party!

Somebody Who Doesn't Have Authority

I went to the National Archives and Records Administration website today to see if perhaps they are the ones who certify that Presidential candidates are eligible to run for the office. It seems that somebody had beat me there, and already asked my question. In their Q&A archives, I found the following:

Question:Who verifies if a candidate is qualified to run for President?

Answer:The Office of the Federal Register at the National Archives and Records Administration administers the Electoral College process, which takes place after the November general election. The Office of the Federal Register does not have the authority to handle issues related to the general election, such as candidate qualifications. People interested in this issue may wish to contact their state election officials or their Congressional Representatives.

Because the process of qualifying for the election and having a candidate's name put on the ballot varies from state to state, you should contact your state's top election officer for more information. In most states, the Secretary of State is the official responsible for oversight of state elections, including the presidential election. Visit the National Secretaries of State web site to locate contact information and web addresses for the Secretary of State from each state and the District of Columbia.

Under federal law an objection to a state's electoral votes may be made to the President of the Senate during Congress's counting of electoral votes in January. The objection must be made in writing and signed by at least one Senator and one member of the House of Representatives. Both the Senate and the House of Representatives debate the objection separately. Debate is limited to two hours. After the debate, both the Senate and the House of Representatives rejoin and both must agree to reject the votes.

So now we know one group that doesn't have the authority to certify candidates as eligible. That's great! And to make it better, they actually make a recommendation as to who we should ask next: our Secretary of State. For me, that's Mike Coffman (I live in Colorado).

State Law to Verify Candidates Eligibility?

I came across a blog post tonight that talked about working with our state representatives to pass a law that would require the Secretary of State to verify a Presidential candidates eligibility for office before placing them on the ballot. This is very much what I would like to do, should I find that there is not currently such a process in place. So I wrote "Phil" (I don't know the last name, just his screen name) a note. I'll let you know what I hear back...

---------------
Phil,

Your idea is right in line with my own thinking. I'm still trying to verify whether or not there is a process that establishes the eligibility of presidential candidates, but my feeling is that I'm going to find that no such process exists.

I, too, would like to begin working with my State Legislature on passing a law requiring the SoS to verify that a candidate is eligible before placing them on the ballot. Are you planning on organizing this type of effort? It would be helpful to have a group of like-minded people to go through this with - I'm sure there will be many challenges along the way.
Please contact me at juriggs@yahoo.com and let me know if there are or aren't plans for an organized approach to your suggestion.

Sincerely,

Justin W. Riggs
------------

the original post that I refer to in my letter can be found at http://www.therightsideoflife.com/?p=852

------------
November 23rd:

Heard back from Phil. Here was his message.

Justin, Please see My Thought: What Happens After the Obama Lawsuits for my take on what you're describing. I have similarly been keeping the Top Stories: PA Candidate Eligibility Bill Post available for a practical example of how to keep this situation from occurring again, going forward. I will similarly be sending you a copy of this comment to your comment via your email.

-Phil
Go to comment

I read the post, which talked about a State Rep. from Pennsylvania who is going to introduce legislation that will force the state to certify that the candidate is eligible before placing them on the ballot. This is exactly the type of legislation I would like to work on with one of my State Reps. It's good to know there are other people out there concerned about this apparent loophole in the political process.

Response from Polly Baca, elector at-large

Tonight I received the first response to my letter to the Colorado state electors. The response came from Polly Baca, elector at-large. According to Wikipedia, Ms. Baca is a former member of the Colorado House of Representatives and the Colorado State Senate. Here is her response, in its entirety:

--------------
Dear Mr. Riggs,

I have confirmed that Sen. Obama was born in the United States and is eligible and qualified to serve as President of the United States. There is no doubt that he meets these qualifications. I am surprised that you have not done what is necessary to confirm this status.


Polly Baca

--------------
I am extremely grateful Ms. Baca took the time to respond. However, I was disappointed that she didn't answer many of the questions I asked in my original letter. Here was my response, again, in its entirety:

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Ms. Baca,

I'm glad to hear that you've confirmed this crucial fact. Please rest assured that I've done everything I can think of to confirm this as well, but my research has left me with what I would consider a reasonable doubt. Would you please share with me what evidence you've obtained that proves citizenship status, and what the source of that evidence is? Ideally, I would request you answer the original questions I asked in my letter. However, I know you're busy, so if you would just point me in the right direction I would appreciate it. Please understand that my primary interest is simply in figuring out what the process is in regards to making sure our candidates meet all the Constitutional requirements - Mr. Obama's particular case is simply what brought my attention to the larger issue. It sounds like you have knowledge about that process, and I'd be grateful if you would share with me how you came to your conclusion.

Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to my letter. I sincerely appreciate it.

With Warm Regards,

Justin W. Riggs

Letters to CO electors...

Last night, I sent an email to 7 0f the 9 Democratic Electors who will be representing the state of Colorado at the Electoral College on December 15, 2008 (2 of the email addresses I was provided didn't work - I'll be sending physical letters to these two later this week). The letter I attached to the message read as follows:


November 19, 2008

Dear Sir or Madam:

I am writing to you as a curious and concerned American citizen and resident of the State of Colorado. This election cycle, in which Senator Barack Obama was chosen to lead our nation, raised an interesting issue regarding how we ensure our candidates are qualified for the office they seek. My purpose in writing you today is to extinguish both my curiosity and my concern with factual information.

As you are doubtlessly aware, during this most recent election cycle, both of the major party candidates were, at one time or another, accused of not meeting the Constitutional requirements for holding the office of the Presidency. As you know, Article II, Section I, Clause V of our Constitution states that:

No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

In this election, the allegations brought against both candidates revolved around the “natural born citizen” requirement. My question for you is this: How have you, as an elector representing the State of Colorado, verified that Senator Obama meets the Constitutional requirements for holding the office he has been elected to?

When I first became aware of this issue, my first reaction was a healthy skepticism. My assumption was that there is a standardized process that takes place before the candidate is even allowed to run. I imagined that there are very cut and dried criteria that must be met when establishing whether or not an individual is a natural born citizen of this country, and that there is someone or some group of people who have been granted the authority to certify that each candidate meets the eligibility requirements. Unfortunately, in my own research, I have not been able to locate any evidence that this type of process exists. Would you be so kind as to inform me in a written response, either through electronic or traditional mail:

What the process is
Who is responsible for overseeing that process
Who has the authority to declare that a candidate is eligible
When that process took place during this campaign
Where the public can go to view evidence that the process took place, and that the candidate was found to qualify for the office of the Presidency, and
What positive knowledge or information you possess that makes you certain that Senator Obama meets every necessary requirement to be sworn in as the next President of the United States of America?

You may or may not be aware that there are several individuals throughout the country who are asking electors from their state to obtain the original vault copy of Barack Obama’s birth certificate from the State of Hawaii through a court subpoena. I, personally, find this request extraordinary. However, I also find it extraordinary that, under the circumstances, Senator Obama has not made that document available. It seems a simple request, and one the citizens of America have the right to make of the man who aspires to lead them through these difficult and perilous times we find ourselves in. As an elector, perhaps you can make a direct request for this document to Senator Obama, making it clear that your intent is to verify that he is eligible to hold the office he has been elected to. Rest assured, it would not be difficult for Senator Obama to provide you with this proof – the cost is negligible, and he can request it in various ways that don’t require him to make a trip to Hawaii.

As one of the few people in this country who holds the authority to formally elect Senator Obama into office, I am certain you feel a keen sense of duty to verify that the candidate you will be casting a vote for meets all Constitutional requirements before you elect him to office. I hope you understand that the reason I am writing you today is that I, as a citizen of our State, feel a similar sense of duty to do all that I can to ensure that our electors are fulfilling their duties in a responsible manner. That being said, I look forward to your prompt response and thank you for your selfless service during this historic election.

Your Fellow Citizen,

Justin W. Riggs
(my personal information)

Letter to Ron Paul...

Following is the text of a letter I sent to Rep. Ron Paul on November 15th, 2008:


Rep. Paul,

As you may or may not know, during this Presidential election, both major party candidates were accused of not meeting the Constitutional requirements laid out in Article II regarding the necessary qualifications to hold the office of President of the United States.

I personally cannot bring myself to believe that these candidates did not provide evidence of their eligibility for the office to somebody at some point during the election process. However, I have not been able to locate any information on what the process is to ensure a candidate meets the Constitutional requirements to become President.

Because you ran for the office, I thought you might be able to answer this question. Were you required to provide evidence of your eligibility to run for office? Who required that evidence? What evidence did you have to provide?

Unfortunately, this information has eluded me up to this point. I hope to find an answer, because if we *aren't* ensuring that our candidates are qualified, I'd like to start a movement to introduce legislation that would create a process that each candidate would have to go through before they could be placed on a state ballot.

I thank you for your time, and look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Justin W. Riggs

As soon as I get a response, I'll post it here for everyone to see...

If you want to be President...

The qualifications necessary to become President are simple to understand. According to Article II, Section I, Clause V of the United States Constitution:

No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

In an easier to read format, here's the three requirements:

The President must be:

- a natural born citizen (or a citizen of the U.S. at the time of the Constitution's adoption)
- at least thirty-five years old
- have resided within the United States for at least fourteen years

So who's responsible for making sure that the President meets these criteria? I thought I'd start by asking somebody who really ought to know: Ron Paul.

One simple question...

If we have requirements that must be met in order to serve as the POTUS, I assume there is a process in place to make sure that those requirements are met.

Who certifies that our Presidential candidates are eligible to hold that office?

That's the question I'm out to answer.

Read the Constitution!