AG ABBOTT OPINES, TX PUBLIC RECORDS LAWS not WORTH the PAPER on which THEY’RE WRITTEN

June 25, 2012

UPDATED 06.26.12: See update at bottom of article.

© 2012 jbjd

Disagreeing with me on a point of legal interpretation doesn’t per se mean you don’t know what you are talking about. But when Assistant AG June Harden rejected Kelly Canon’s complaint that the Texas Democratic Party (“TDP”) had violated the Public Information Act (“PIA” or “the Act”) by refusing to produce certain election-related documents; explaining to Ms. Canon that, political parties are not covered by the Act, well, Ms. Harden had no idea what she was talking about.

For the past 12 years, Harden has been the Senior Managing Attorney for Public Outreach in the Open Records Division of the Office of the Attorney General of the State of Texas. Before joining the OAG, she served as Special Counsel to Senator Gregory Luna of Bexar County.  Id. Ms. Harden received her undergraduate degree from Texas A&M University and her J.D. from Texas Tech University School of Law. Id. She has been working at the AG since December 1995; her current annual salary is $80,000. http://www.texastribune.org/library/data/government-employee-salaries/state-of-texas/june-b-harden/1114680/

Judging by her bona fides; by now, she should know her job in and out. But she doesn’t. And I can prove it. First, some background information, which has been covered in previous articles.

The legal standard for getting the name of the Presidential candidate from the major political party on the general election ballot in Texas is spelled out in §192.031 PARTY CANDIDATE’S ENTITLEMENT TO PLACE ON BALLOT.  The first of four prongs to entitlement is, the person must be “federally qualified” for the job. Id. But no law specifically designates whose responsibility it is to determine either in the first instance, whether the candidate is federally qualified; or, at some point after the political party has electronically submitted the name of the candidate to the Secretary of State (“SoS”) and before she certifies the name to the ballot, whether anyone has previously determined s/he is federally qualified for the job. However, we know that the Secretary does not verify Constitutional eligibility; and so, Ms. Canon determined to find out on what documentary basis both the RPT (Republican Party of TX) and TDP had determined their 2012 Presidential candidates’ federal qualifications. The RPT returned their candidate applications which, like those applications designed by the Secretary for Independent and Write-in candidates, contained the Constitutionally qualified self-affirmation. The TDP returned the candidates’ unauthenticated applications. (See BALLOT ENTITLEMENT LAWS should DISQUALIFY PRESIDENT OBAMA in TEXAS.)

But that’s not what Canon asked for; so she filed a complaint with the AG charging the TDP had violated the PIA. Pending receipt of the actual opinion letter; Ms. Harden telephoned her response.

According to Harden, the TDP is not covered by the PIA. Why? Because, as she told Ms. Canon; under Title 5 of 552.003, Definitions, political parties are not identified as government entities. And, technically she’s right. That is, the TDP is not a government entity. But this fact alone does not end the analysis as to whether the documents requested are covered under the Act. For example, had she read section 552.002; she would have seen this.

Sec. 552.002.  DEFINITION OF PUBLIC INFORMATION; MEDIA CONTAINING PUBLIC INFORMATION.  (a)  In this chapter, “public information” means information that is collected, assembled, or maintained under a law or ordinance or in connection with the transaction of official business:

(1)  by a governmental body;  or

(2)  for a governmental body and the governmental body owns the information or has a right of access to it.

This means, even granting that sec. 552.003 of the TX Statutes, Government Code, Title 5, Open Government; Ethics, does not explicitly define the TDP as a government entity; one cannot rightly infer that the documents held by the TDP which were the subject of Ms. Canon’s request and subsequent complaint to the AG for non-compliance; are not public documents under other provisions of the Act. Or that, under another legal scheme, either the party or the documents are not covered by the Act. And they are. For example, look at the Elections Code.

Sec. 191.003: NOTICE OF CANDIDATES TO SECRETARY OF STATE. The state chair of each political party holding a presidential primary election shall certify the name of each presidential candidate who qualifies for a place on the presidential primary election ballot and deliver the certification to the secretary of state not later than the 57th day before presidential primary election day.

Thus, in TX, the Presidential candidates representing the major political parties do not apply directly to the Secretary of State (“SoS”) to get their names on the ballot. Instead, they must submit their ballot applications to the chair of the party; and s/he must submit the names of these candidates to the SoS. In other words, under Sec. 552.002, the information “collected, assembled, or maintained” with respect to these applications which are made pursuant to Sec. 191.003, requiring the delivery of the certification of qualified candidates to the SoS; is public information.

But just in case the logic of coverage under the PIA is still unclear; there’s this.

Sec. 141.035.  APPLICATION AS PUBLIC INFORMATION.  An application for a place on the ballot, including an accompanying petition, is public information immediately on its filing.

Indeed; like they had done to several requestors in 2010; the TDP ignored Canon’s first request for documents in 2012, in which she had failed to specify the applicable public records laws.

View this document on Scribd

No; she only received a response after she revised her letter and filed a second request for documents in which she specifically asserted the laws supporting the request.

And she knew if the TDP had any such documents related to the 2012 ballot; these documents would still be held by the TDP.

Sec. 141.036.  PRESERVATION OF APPLICATION.  The authority with whom an application for a place on the ballot is required to be filed shall preserve each application filed with the authority for two years after the date of the election for which the application is made.

However, the party failed to produce the specific documents she requested related to how it had ascertained the candidates’ federal qualification, which refusal had prompted her present complaint to the AG.

Presumably, before Ms. Harden issued her opinion; she researched past opinions issuing on this subject from the office of the AG. We looked; there are none. This means, this was a case of first impression. But this also means that, subsequent complaints as to the refusal of the parties to produce specific election-related information; will be rejected on the grounds of her opinion.

It would appear that AAG Harden repeated the mistakes others have made when interpreting the coverage of the PIA. That is, she was too narrowly focused on the definitions which ruled out political party chairs as ‘public officials,’ ignoring the fact  the section of the law immediately preceding those definitions makes unambiguously clear that documents held by these party officers may still be classified as public records.  Or the fact that other laws may define records as public, making them also subject to the PIA; and spell out that when party officers carry out traditional state functions associated with elections, covered by another section of the law; then, just like other public officials, they can still be ordered to hand over these public records, under an action in Mandamus initiated either by the aggrieved citizen or by the AG.

To say nothing of the fact that the opening provision of the PIA urges its provisions not to be narrowly construed so as to limit public access to records but, on the contrary; to be “liberally construed in favor of granting a request for information.” http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/GV/htm/GV.552.htm

But as of now; the erroneous opinion stands.  This means the TDP has the legal obligation to submit the name of a Presidential candidate to the ballot, which name the SoS, who presumes the candidates named by the parties are federally qualified for the job and thus entitled to appear on the ballot; must certify these names to the ballot.  Sec. 192.033. But neither the SoS nor a private citizen has the right of access to the party documents which were the basis for the TDP’s eligibility determination. And the TDP knows this, having been copied on both the complaint and the opinion letter.

Recall that, in the past, the TDP refused to produce documentary evidence of its candidate applications until the requester cited applicable public records and election laws. Until we can reverse Ms. Harden’s patently erroneous legal interpretation of the scope of PIA jurisdiction; how likely do you suppose will be the TDP to voluntarily disclose such eligibility documentation?

And why would the citizens of TX allow to remain intact, a system of elections that presently permits a political party to maintain access to the ballot notwithstanding it cannot produce any documentary evidence to the public or the Secretary, that its candidates satisfy the threshold to entitlement, of being “federally qualified” for the job?

UPDATE 06.26.12: Well, well, well. AAG Harden’s written response arrived; and it’s even ‘better’ in black and white.

View this document on Scribd

See, in addition to memorializing her illogical opinion that, the TDP is not covered under the PIA inasmuch as they are not identified as a “government entity” in the Definitions section of that law; she now preserves for the record her mistaken assertion that the only records covered are those held by entities explicitly defined as ‘government.’ This, of course, leaves out all of those “records” defined in the law as “collected, assembled, or maintained under a law or ordinance or in connection with the transaction of official business … for a governmental body and the governmental body owns the information or has a right of access to it.” Id.

But there’s more. Ms. Canon pointed out to Ms. Harden over the phone; she had filed a PIA request with the SoS seeking all documents the TDP had submitted to that office with respect to the federal qualification of the Presidential candidates whose names they provided to appear on the ballot. The SoS complied with this request. That is, they returned a printout of the electronic spreadsheet that had been submitted by the party, containing the candidates’ names. Because that’s all they had gotten from the party.  But apparently, Harden somehow got the idea that, Canon was perhaps complaining, the SoS had received from the party, documents of federal qualification; but had refused to forward to her that documentation! Now, writing the obvious, Harden advised that the SoS is a government entity under the PIA, and suggested Canon could file a PIA complaint against them!

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REVOLVING DOOR, REVOLUTION, or just PLAIN REVOLTING

February 23, 2011

©2011 jbjd

Ever since Electors elected Barack Obama President of the United States, many of those of you who are convinced he is Constitutionally ineligible for the job, unable to forestall his inauguration, alternatively determined to elect new public officials and enact new laws intending to forestall his election in 2012.  I have rejected this response as taking a sort of ‘revolving door’ approach.   That is, as I have reasoned many times, if we are impotent to get our current elected officials to enforce existing ballot eligibility laws then, we will not achieve a different outcome by electing new officials or writing new laws.

Instead, I have been pushing for citizens in applicable states, that is, states with existing ballot eligibility laws, to file with their A’sG the citizen complaints I drafted charging  various members of the D party committed election fraud by swearing to state election officials in 2008, Barack Obama was qualified for the office of President, without ascertaining beforehand he is a NBC; and, if necessary, to lobby these A’sG to exercise their discretion to investigate these complaints.  What I envision to be a true people’s ‘revolution.’

Now, the official conduct of Texas State Representative Leo Berman (R-Tyler) has necessitated a third description that could be applied to efforts to shore up our electoral process with respect to guaranteeing Presidential candidates are Constitutionally eligible for the job:  just plain revolting.

Rep. Berman recently introduced a bill specifying “the secretary of state may not certify the name of a candidate for president or vice-president unless the candidate has presented the original birth certificate indicating that the person is a natural-born United States citizen.” http://lubbockonline.com/local-news/2010-11-17/birth-certificate-bill-filed-presidential-candidates

Yep; here’s the text of that bill.

http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/82R/billtext/pdf/HB00295I.pdf#navpanes=0

Right off the top, this wording presents many obstacles to fulfilling the function for which it is ostensibly written. For example, how can a birth certificate identify whether a person is a NBC?  And then, there is this word, “entitled.” In the situation called to my attention in TX, wherein Bob Barr challenged the printing of the names of both the R and D nominees on the ballot, I pointed out, even if one is not entitled to something, this does not mean, one cannot get what he wants, anyway.

Submitted on 2009/09/11 at 22:45 | In reply to juriggs.

If you look at what I posted, I posted all the docs I received from the SoS with respect to the Certifications…5 docs. The Republicans actually used a “form” and I queried the SOS with respect to whether there was a specific “form” required and they responded “no”. The Deomcrats sent in two docs. One, the Official Certification, and the other more of a letter form. I believe the letter was in effect a cover sheet and as much as a form was not required, there was intent to comply with guidance from the State with respect to an “Official Certification”.
I am also reading some stuff into this as both Parties missed the filing deadline. The pre-certification on my site from the republicans is I believe a way of showing thier “intent” to comply with the law which required Official Notification 70 days prior to the election.

redhank: Yes; you are absolutely right. And Libertarian candidate Bob Barr filed a lawsuit arguing both the D’s and the R’s had missed the filing deadline. The court dismissed the case, noting that Barr had waited to file his suit until 2 or 3 days before the absentee ballots, already printed, were scheduled to be sent out. (cite omitted) (The suit would have failed, anyway, because the law merely says, the party is “entitled” to have its nominee on the ballot if it gets the name in on time. This does not mean, the state cannot exercise its discretion to include late names on the ballot, anyway.) ADMINISTRATOR

Again, just because a candidate is not entitled to be on the ballot does not prohibit the state from putting his name there anyway.

To say nothing of the conflict between this proposed change to Texas Election Code 192.033; with  192.031, which section entitles party nominees qualified for office to appear on the ballot.  http://law.onecle.com/texas/election/192.031.00.html And as we have already seen, in 2008, Boyd Richie, Chair of the Texas Democratic Party (“TDP”) swore Presidential nominee Obama was “duly nominated,” making him the qualified nominee.

And did you catch the last line?  ‘Effective date September 1, 2011.’ To paraphrase my Reply to a Comment submitted by gregnh, passing a bill that would alter the 2012 election assumes  the law survives any legal challenges and that regulations/rules instructing the SoS how to carry out this law; take effect in time for the 2012 general election (if not the primary/caucus contests).  (This still does not mean Electors will elect a President who is Constitutionally eligible for the job unless 1) the law (or a law) includes a provision, Electors may only elect a President whose name appeared on the ballot; and 2) the NPVI does not pass.)

But here’s the biggest overall problem I have with Mr. Berman’s ‘efforts’ to shore up the integrity of the election process in Texas:  Texas law already provides ample remedy to redress the fraud from 2008.

As I have detailed in several articles and accompanying Comments, as well as the citizen complaint of election fraud against Boyd Richie, Chair of the TDP:  current Texas state laws offer some of the strongest remedies to the election fraud related to candidate ballot eligibility, that tainted the 2008 election, from subjecting the TDP to the state’s Open Records law to subjecting Boyd Richie to Mandamus.  Just for example, see JUDGE ABBOTT WOULD ORDER TDP CHAIR BOYD RICHIE TO DECLARE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE BARACK OBAMA IS INELIGIBLE FOR THE JOB; CLOWNS to the LEFT of ME; JOKERS to the RIGHT (1 of 2); CLOWNS to the LEFT of ME; JOKERS to the RIGHT (2 of 2); OPEN LETTER to GREG ABBOTT, ATTORNEY GENERAL of TEXAS; A ROADMAP to ELECTION FRAUD in TEXAS in the 2008 PRESIDENTIAL (ELECTORS) ELECTION; TEXAS TWO-STEP; REMEMBER the ALAMO?; and IDIOMS!.

So, we have 3 approaches to fixing our electoral process so as to ensure the Constitutional eligibility of our Presidential nominee.  Let’s compare and contrast their success.

The revolving door policy has resulted in the election of several new state (and federal) officials.  But none of them has publicly raised the issue of election fraud viz a viz ballot eligibility.

Several hundred citizens from 6 (six) states have downloaded and filed my citizen complaints.  But their conduct can hardly be characterized as revolutionary when, ignored by their A’sG, they have not publicly petitioned for a fair hearing on the steps of their state seats of government.  Ha, I cannot even persuade citizens in all 50 states to examine their own laws so as to determine whether they are applicable states for my citizen complaints!  Worse, azgo looked up laws in some other states and was able to identify AL and MO are applicable states – this information first appeared on this blog months ago now – yet no one from MO or AL has contacted me to get the ball rolling in either of those states!

Then, there’s Mr. Berman’s flawed proposed legislation which, according to the article in Lubbock Online, likely won’t pass, anyway.

These are bills that Berman has unsuccessfully filed in previous sessions.

In the 2007 session, for example, then Rep. David Swinford, R-Dumas, chairman of the House State Affairs Committee, single-handedly killed all of Berman’s bills on the advice of Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott.

Committee chairmen have the power to kill bills they consider harmful to the state. Swinford killed Berman’s bills because Abbott advised him that if the Legislature passed them, they would not survive court challenges and the state would spend millions of dollars on legal fees, like California did in the mid-1990s.

(So much for my idea of inviting suit by any candidate aggrieved as to the state’s definition of who is (Constitutionally) “qualified” for office and, therefore, may have his name printed on the ballot; so as to fix on a legally binding definition of NBC!)

Oh, and for your information, Representative Berman just became a member of the House Elections Committee!

http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/member-page/?district=6

Revolting.

Given my extensive research into and knowledge of these issues in general and TX law in particular, perhaps citizens in Tyler, TX, the district represented by Mr. Berman, can suggest that if he is determined to propose new laws to address candidate eligibility, he should review the provisions in HOW to WRITE SMART CANDIDATE ELIGIBILITY LAWS in your STATE (and make applying to get on the ballot harder than applying to get into Harvard).

Or, Tyler residents could ‘vote with their feet.’  Because besides being the simplest and quickest means to the eligibility end, I am still convinced, carried out as I envision, it will work.

Here is the last paragraph in that Reply to gregnh I posted earlier:

On the other hand, if even one AG in a state with an existing ballot eligibility law, however flawed, acted to initiate an investigation pursuant to one citizen complaint of election fraud, then once the targeted D could not come up with a reasonable basis for swearing Obama was Constitutionally eligible for the job in 2008, this alone would signal the end to Obama’s candidacy, even without an ensuing prosecution for election fraud, or the enactment of any other laws. ADMINISTRATOR


HOW to WRITE SMART CANDIDATE ELIGIBILITY LAWS in your STATE (and make applying to get on the ballot harder than applying to get into Harvard)

January 24, 2011

©2011 jbjd

In August 2009 I replied to a Comment here on the “jbjd” blog:

At some point, I will switch my primary focus to drafting model legislation for the several states, to include state verification of the parties’ nominees. For now, I want to use existing laws. After all, this is why we enacted them!

2009/08/08 at 20:37

Due to circumstances beyond my control, this is that “point.”

As you know, several blogosphere pundits have historically scurried to secure for themselves a spot at the head of the eligibility advocacy pack by hyperbolically focusing readers’ attention on one hair-brain epiphany or scheme after another;  alternately raising and quashing the hopes and expectations of millions of citizens desperate for a definitive resolution to the question of Obama’s Constitutional eligibility for POTUS.  They  have managed to capture unearned credibility (and augment their financial coffers) by stealing bits and pieces of the sound solutions proposed here on the “jbjd” blog, recycled under their monikers, without proper accreditation and with mistakes.

For example, there is the tale referenced below, falsifying and exaggerating the significance of differences in Certifications of Nomination submitted to election officials in various states.  In the year-and-a-half since hatched, this one lie has polluted the blogosphere, effectively depriving millions of citizens from learning the facts about our electoral system, facts which could forestall the chance that those of us who know more about ‘how things work’ will ever again get away with using that superior knowledge to steal power from the rest of us.

Magna Carta says: The Canada Press story is also on Obama File blog. I was trying to figure out how to get to the guy running this blog to notify about your efforts over the last several months.If anyone knows…tell me where to click.

Magna Carta: Before I forget, I had inadvertently held one of your comments in Moderation, even though I had responded with quite a lengthy reply. Have you seen it?

Please, people, if you see my work repeated without attribution, tell the owners of the blog! The integrity of the information I post here can be destroyed by one bogus presentation. It’s like inadvertently buying a knock-off Gucci bag that falls apart after one use; luckily, the name Gucci has been well-established to mean quality, and can survive random usurpation. But these issues I am presenting represent first impressions, that is, situations that have not been examined before. As one commenter wrote, I discuss these issues “sans” the drama. Because once these issues become mired in hyperbolic rant, they lose their import and we who discuss these issues and seek explanations and solutions lose our credibility outright. For example, knowing the Certifications of Nomination presented by the D party to elections officials in SC and HI were different, could be explained by screaming words like conspiracy, or cover-up. Or, noticing the difference in the forms could lead to a discussion that each state legislates the process by which the political parties can get the name of their nominee for POTUS onto the state’s general election ballot. (This means, the people in that state determined how the party would submit the name of its nominee to state elections officials.)

You get what I mean. ADMINISTRATOR

2009/09/12 at 22:03

Or the selfish gambit by those unscrupulous attention junkies to usurp the  strategy we devised that could finally resolve the eligibility question by compelling state A’sG in those states that require candidate eligibility to appear on the ballot; to investigate citizen complaints of election fraud against various members of the D party.

Sheila says: jbjd I have been following your blog for a while now and have seen the work you and other people are putting into this effort and I wanted to inform that there is an article written in THE POST AND EMAIL out of New Hampshire about the NH SOS investigating election fraud by NP,BO and the DEMS. In article they were crediting the Canadian Free Press with all of your work. I sent them an e-mail to inform them they had it wrong. Thought you might be interested!!!

Sheila: Thank you so much. (Remember, Justin Riggs put in the work to obtain the HI documents; I merely noted the difference with other Certifications and ‘interpreted’ that difference to be required by state law.) Are you from NH? Does NH law require the candidate to be eligible to get onto the ballot? ADMINISTRATOR

09.13.09
OMG. This theft of my intellectual property could completely undermine all of our hard work.

CFP copied my blog, making a big deal about the ‘newly’ discovered difference in signatures on Certifications of Nomination, concluding these differences in Certifications meant, the party had committed fraud. They failed to mention, state law dictates what goes on each Certification; and whether the Certification must originate with the DNC or the state D party Chair. Of course, all of this information is on my blog. No; for CFP, the fraud was proven merely by the different versions of the Certification. Then, WND copied my work wholesale, and credited Mr. Williams from CFP but not me. Just like CFP, WND also omitted the fact, HI law required the extra line in the Certification. (This makes sense, since in the same way that CFP is the front for Douglas Hagmann; Center for Western Journalism is the front for WND and Farah. They can label their propaganda however they want; but essentially, they are in the business of shaping opinions and not investigating and analyzing hard ‘news.’)

Now, a state Rep. in NH – he is a Plaintiff in one of Orly’s cases – was given the information from CFP. He contacted the SoS in NH to look into fraud; evidently, she agreed. But no fraud occurred in NH. As I have been saying since last summer, no provision of any law, federal or state, requires any state official to check whether the nominee for POTUS from the major political party is Constitutionally eligible for the job. This is the reason that any lawsuit predicated on Mandamus was doomed to fail. That is, the court – judicial branch – will not order the SoS – executive branch – to perform a specific job function unless such function is spelled out in the law – legislative branch. Most state laws also fail to require the nominee to be Constitutionally eligible for the job. In fact, most laws entitle the name of the nominee to appear on the ballot. All the party is required to do is to Certify the name of its nominee, to appropriate state officials. And since NH law does not require the nominee to be a NBC, having legally Certified he is the nominee, no fraud occurred.

We have begun filing election fraud complaints with A’sG in those states with laws requiring the candidate must be eligible for office to appear on the ballot. The complaints make clear, the D party submitted the Certifications that were required for the SoS to place BO’s name on the ballot. And the SoS did exactly what she was supposed to do, by placing his name on the ballot. In fact, by law, the party nominee is entitled to be on the ballot. However, the law in this state also requires the candidate to be eligible for the job. Now, we have no idea whether BO is eligible for the job; but we have a pretty good idea that based on the documentation in the public domain, as well as admissions by both the candidate and the party, the person signing the Certification on behalf of the party could not have ascertained whether BO is a NBC before signing the Certification submitted to the state.

It is this false meaning underlying the true Certification that is the election fraud; and the job of the AG is to investigate that fraud.

But let’s say, the SoS of NH reports, no fraud occurred. A’sG in other states will hear this and figure, no fraud occurred. So, what are these people filing these 4-page complaints of election fraud talking about?

Does this mean, the D’s did not commit election fraud in states other than NH? Absolutely not. But, tragically, because of the malfeasance of people associated with CFP and WND, and Leo and the NH state Rep., only readers of my blog will ‘get’ that distinction.

Leo Donofrio also posted this stolen information about the NH Rep., AFTER I alerted him CFP had stolen this from me. Here are the first two lines of the comment I sent him today, which comment he refuses to post. No surprise there.

“I cannot believe you posted this after I alerted you that CFP had stolen my work.”

“By stealing my work, CFP and WND have jeopardized the success of the project.”

By the way, NH has no law requiring the nominee from the major political party to be eligible for the job in order to appear on the ballot. ADMINISTRATOR

2009/09/13 at 17:33

Well, these same charlatans are now fabricating equally faulty prescriptions for preventing the problems that plagued the 2008 election cycle from repeating themselves in 2012.  Again, 1) they are stealing from me; and, as usual, 2) they don’t know what they are talking about.  So, in the best interest of enabling a well informed electorate, I am compelled to shift the immediate focus of the work I have been pouring into the “jbjd” blog away from mitigating and remediating the problems I have identified which infected the 2008 election cycle, and toward preventing these same anomalies I originally identified here on this blog 2 1/2 years ago, in the summer of 2008, from infecting the electoral cycle again in 2012.

From now on, those readers who have been emailing proposed legislation in individual states for my comment and review, should now direct all such correspondence to the Comments section of the blog so that our collaboration can benefit everyone who visits “jbjd.”

Okay, here goes.

When it comes to crafting proposals affecting legislation with respect to the electoral process for  the 2012 general election cycle that are intended to ensure we elect a President who is Constitutionally eligible for the job, such proposals cannot achieve this desired outcome which contain provisions contradicting the broad tenets spelled out below, in no particular order.

1. IN STATES WHERE CITIZENS HAVE NOT ENACTED LAWS SPECIFICALLY MANDATING ONLY THE NAMES OF CANDIDATES ELIGIBLE* FOR THE OFFICES THEY SEEK TO FILL MAY APPEAR ON THE BALLOT, THEY NEED TO ENACT THESE LAWS.

*(The word “eligible” is used in Article II, section 1, with respect to the President; neither the word “eligible” nor the word “qualified” appears in Article I, sections 2 and 3 to define who may be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives or U.S. Senate.)

2. IN STATES WHERE CITIZENS HAVE ENACTED LAWS SPECIFICALLY MANDATING ONLY THE NAMES OF CANDIDATES ELIGIBLE FOR THE OFFICES THEY SEEK TO FILL MAY APPEAR ON THE BALLOT, THE NAMES OF INELIGIBLE CANDIDATES MUST BE KEPT OFF THE BALLOT. Such ballot eligibility laws must be expanded to include verification mechanisms, either by promulgating regulations to carry out existing laws, a state function allocated to the official in charge of elections or, by tweaking the original legislation so as to allow expedited challenges of ballot eligibility; along with stiff criminal and civil penalties for violations. (These solutions to the eligibility problem were first discussed on the “jbjd” blog way back in August 2008.  See CHALLENGING BO’S ELIGIBILITY TO GET ONTO THE GENERAL ELECTION BALLOT AS THE DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE FOR POTUS)

(Please note, objections raised that the state cannot interfere with the rights of political parties to choose their candidates can be countered with this rationale:  a decision by any state that, one candidate or another is not eligible under state law to have his or her name printed on the ballot does not mean that political parties are  not entitled to ‘run’ a candidate who fails to meet ballot eligibility. Not at all!  Failing to meet the state’s standard for ballot eligibility (or, refusing to subject party nominees to the scrutiny of vetting by the state) in no way implicates the right of the party to the nominee of its choice.  It only relieves the state of the burden to put that person’s name on the general election ballot. People who still want to vote for candidates who have failed to establish state confirmed ballot eligibility must be offered the option to write in the names of these candidates in a space provided!)

(Please note, the portion of the U.S. Code addressing criminal conduct associated with the production, transfer, possession, and use of identification documents – DE-CODER RINGS (1 of 2) and DE-CODER RINGS (2 of 2) – should be incorporated into state law, for this reason.  Breaches of federal law must be investigated and prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney, whose discretion to proceed may be influenced by factors outside of the state; whereas violations of state law can be addressed by appropriate law enforcement officials within the state, and subject to the direct influences of its citizens.  Such legislation should in no way prevent federal prosecution of document related fraud.)  (Of course, if we are as lax about persuading our elected officials to exercise their discretion to enforce news laws as we have been when it comes to enforcing laws already on the books, well, scofflaws will have as little to worry about then as they do now.)

3. IN STATES WHERE CITIZENS HAVE ENACTED LAWS SPECIFICALLY MANDATING ONLY THE NAMES OF CANDIDATES ELIGIBLE FOR THE OFFICES THEY SEEK TO FILL MAY APPEAR ON THE BALLOT, THE WAY TO PREVENT ELECTORS FROM ELECTING AN INELIGIBLE PRESIDENT IS TO ENACT LAWS PROHIBITING THEM FROM ELECTING ANYONE WHOSE NAME DID NOT APPEAR ON THE GENERAL ELECTION BALLOT IN THEIR STATE. As we now know, laws mandating that Electors must vote for the Presidential nominee of the political party exist in several states.   NEVER LESS THAN a TREASON (2 of 2) Thus, we can also write laws mandating Electors only elect Presidents Constitutionally eligible for the job.  But Electors cannot be charged with determining eligibility, for several reasons.  As we have discussed, the names of Electors are proposed by the political parties, and are usually long-time party contributors and loyalists. But this innate bias on the part of Electors is only one barrier to requiring such scrutiny of the candidates.  More importantly, Electors are not public officials answerable to the electorate.  Thus, all mandates involving candidate eligibility must be implemented by state election officials.

(Please note, requiring Electors to elect only a President whose name appeared on that state’s ballot cures another problem I previously identified with the National Popular Vote Initiative (“NPVI”).  That is, as it stands now, in a ballot eligibility state whose legislature has already voted to join the NPVI compact, Electors could be compelled to vote for the Presidential candidate who amassed the most votes in the compact states, notwithstanding s/he failed to qualify to appear on the ballot in that eligibility state.  Under my proposal, Electors are prohibited from violating their state’s ballot eligibility law.) (Other arguments have been raised questioning the Constitutionality of the NPVI. Id.)

4. IN STATES WHERE VOTERS HAVE ENACTED LAWS SPECIFICALLY MANDATING ONLY THE NAMES OF CANDIDATES ELIGIBLE FOR THE OFFICES THEY SEEK TO FILL MAY APPEAR ON THE BALLOT, THEY MUST DEFINE THE ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS FOR CANDIDATES TO APPEAR ON THE BALLOT. That’s right, ballot eligibility. Because this is the only eligibility issue which is justiciable, or capable of being addressed by the courts.  Hopefully, everyone even marginally familiar with the numerous futile attempts to foist the issue of candidate eligibility for office on the judicial branch of government has learned this lesson by now.  It makes sense, therefore, the only legally cognizable interest the public can protect viz a viz enforcing existing laws with respect to candidate eligibility derives from laws passed in several states demanding that only candidates qualified for office are entitled to have the state print their names on the ballot.

4a.  IN STATES WHERE VOTERS HAVE ENACTED LAWS SPECIFICALLY MANDATING ONLY THE NAMES OF CANDIDATES ELIGIBLE FOR THE OFFICES THEY SEEK TO FILL MAY APPEAR ON THE BALLOT AND DEFINED THE ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS FOR CANDIDATES TO APPEAR ON THE BALLOT, SUCH BALLOT ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS CANNOT CONFLICT WITH THE ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS FOR FEDERAL OFFICE WHICH ARE FOUND IN THE U.S. CONSTITUTION. This only makes sense.  Because otherwise, that is, by insisting states get to pass laws defining the eligibility for office; citizens would be attempting to ‘amend’ through state legislation (or regulation) the eligibility found in the Constitution  notwithstanding the only legal way to change the Constitution is through the process of Constitutional amendments prescribed in the Constitution! (And this legal truism has previously been discussed several times on the “jbjd” blog.  See, for example, CLOWNS to the LEFT of ME; JOKERS to the RIGHT (1 of 2) and (2 of 2); and JUDGE ABBOTT WOULD ORDER TDP CHAIR BOYD RICHIE TO DECLARE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE BARACK OBAMA IS INELIGIBLE FOR THE JOB.)

On the other hand, states get to decide (for the most part) the rational ways to spend their finite resources.  Thus, they can decide to print on the ballot (and tabulate the votes for) only the names of those candidates eligible for office   And to keep off the ballot the names of any candidates who are not.  Anyone aggrieved at being kept off the ballot for failing to meet the state definition of eligibility, can sue.  Defining NBC in any way we want, in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, could likely result in a federal appellate court ruling that would establish a legally binding definition of NBC.

(Please note, anyone aggrieved that the definition of eligibility to appear on the ballot conflicts with the definition of eligibility found in the U.S. Constitution, resulting in the exclusion from the ballot a candidate presumed eligible, can file suit against the state in either state or federal court contesting such ballot exclusion.  Eventually, such case will be heard by a federal appeals court and, in this way, we could achieve a legally binding definition of the Constitutional terms of eligibility.)

Here are some prior Comments on the subject containing issues drafters should consider.

bob strauss:  Know what’s funny? When we set up eligibility panels in the states, we can define NBC any way we want. If the party wants to use our state ballots then, their candidate has to fulfill our definition of NBC. If they don’t like our definition, they can take us to court; or stay off our ballots. Because until the federal appeals court defines NBC then, one definition is as good as another. And we will do this by the next general election. But at a minimum, NBC certainly means, born in the U.S.A. ADMINISTRATOR

2009/09/23 at 19:42


Texas Voter:  Great questions.  I have addressed these issues tangentially throughout the blog, while not dedicating an entire article to the subject of vetting candidates for POTUS as to Constitutional eligibility for the job. In short, this discussion can be divided into 2 (two) categories: 1) the Constitutional qualifications for POTUS; and 2) qualifications to get on state ballots.

1) Does the Constitution set a floor or a ceiling on qualifications for POTUS? That is, can Congress pass a law requiring the Electors to vet as to, say, NBC status, where the Constitution does not compel this factor into their deliberations? If the document set a floor for qualifications then, we can expand on these. If it set a ceiling then, we cannot add to the requirements for deliberation.

2) Can states set whatever requirements they want to get on the ballot, notwithstanding requirements for the actual job are prescribed by the Constitution? That is, can states define ‘qualifications for POTUS’ to get on the ballot, such as, for example, saying, NBC means, born in the U.S. to 2 (two) citizen parents?

The good thing about having the states define NBC is that, we could envision, a party (person or political organization) thereby excluded from appearing on the ballot would file suit against the state for being wrongfully excluded from the political process. And through this process, we would achieve the federal court definition of NBC! ADMINISTRATOR

2010/02/18 at 16:49

5. NO MECHANISM INTENDED TO ESTABLISH ONLY ELIGIBLE CANDIDATES WILL BE ELECTED PRESIDENT WILL SUCCEED, WHICH RELIES ON CANDIDATE SELF-AUTHENTICATION. This has always seemed to me to be self-explanatory.

I refuse to focus on BO to establish HIS OWN eligibility. On FTS, the web site he started and for which he paid before becoming the D Corporation nominee for POTUS; he posted the COLB he said is an official document, which proves he is eligible for POTUS. ADMINISTRATOR

2010/01/05 at 20:33

In other words, stop asking Obama or anyone acting on his behalf but not in an official capacity; to get the man to produce anything! And do not under any circumstances accept as true, any document or facsimile any of these representatives not acting as the “issuing authority” introduces and claims is real! azgo has provided this anecdote with respect to producing an original birth certificate that illustrates why.

If a state law requires a B/C as documentation for ballot access, the state should require the candidate to request from the lawful authority of the candidate’s ‘place of birth’ state to issue that identification document and in that request, the document must be sent directly to the state official (SoS, state election official) and this would be similar to applying for a passport.

I went to apply for a passport in 1979 at the county office (so much younger and not so much money). I brought my hospital issued birth paper with my little footprint on it which my mom kept for so many years. The clerk said that’s no good and you have to use the one from the the department agency in the state where were born. I wanted a copy of my birth certificate so I said to the county clerk, “I want a copy of my B/C so can I get the B/C from my state and make a copy for myself (being thrifty) and then send it to the them (Office of Passport Services/Customer Service).” She said, ” No, you can’t, the certified B/C must go directly to them from the state agency where you were born who keeps those records, they won’t accept one from you”. (I thought to myself, ‘What! don’t they trust me?’) So I had to send off another request of my own to get a certified copy (that blew my budget.) In other words the federal government who issues passports requires the certified B/C copy to go directly to them from the state agency who keeps the B/C record.

So the states with eligibility laws requiring documentation should do the same by requiring the candidate to request a certified original B/C copy from the candidate’s place of birth state agency and send it directly to the SoS or state election official. The SoS and/or state election officials would and should respect the candidate applicant’s personal information and not release any copies of the certified B/C copy to the public but the state could require the document to be available for public viewing only at the office of the SoS (no copies made). This would preserve the integrity of a genuine birth identification document. (I think once that the act of making a copy of the an official certified original or short form B/C copy, then that copy instantly becomes a false identification document, no embossed state seal, no original signature, -“altered”. There are only two types of identification documents, “genuine” and “false”, http://www.justice.gov/usao/eousa/foia_reading_room/usam/title9/crm01507.htm ) Then it would be up to the candidate to choose whether he wants the public to see it or not, …and that answer may conclude whether or not he wants to be able to achieve ballot access.

The SoS and/or state election officials should not accept a certified B/C copy, original or not, from the candidate or anyone else except from “lawful authority” as defined in U.S. Code 1028.

Even Harvard advises applicants to its Freshman class, “Please note that in order for your application to be considered complete, your official test scores must (sic) submitted directly to Harvard by the testing agency on your behalf.”

http://www.admissions.college.harvard.edu/apply/application_process/index.html

Finally, for those of you who would prefer to allow the political parties to authenticate the eligibility of their candidates, I recommend this additional caveat.

6. ANY MECHANISM INTENDED TO ESTABLISH ONLY THE NAMES OF ELIGIBLE CANDIDATES WILL APPEAR ON THE BALLOT, WHICH RELIES ON A POLITICAL PARTY TO AUTHENTICATE ITS CANDIDATES MUST INCLUDE CORRESPONDING LEGISLATION THAT TREATS PARTY OFFICIALS AS PUBLIC OFFICIALS WITH RESPECT TO MANDAMUS AND PUBLIC RECORDS LAWS. This points to the reason I emphasize TX is the state in which prosecution for election fraud viz a viz Certifying Barack Obama was eligible to appear on the 2008 ballot, could succeed.  TX requires candidate eligibility for office in order to appear on the ballot; as Chair of the Texas Democratic Party (“TDP”), Boyd Richie fulfilled a traditional state function when he determined candidate Barack Obama was eligible to appear on the ballot.  Under TX law, this makes Mr. Richie subject to both Mandamus and the Open Records Law.  See, for example, CLOWNS to the LEFT of ME; JOKERS to the RIGHT (1 of 2)CLOWNS to the LEFT of ME; JOKERS to the RIGHT (2 of 2)OPEN LETTER to GREG ABBOTT, ATTORNEY GENERAL of TEXAS , JUDGE ABBOTT WOULD ORDER TDP CHAIR BOYD RICHIE TO DECLARE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE BARACK OBAMA IS INELIGIBLE FOR THE JOB, IDIOMS! …..

There.  Any questions?  Ask “jbjd.”

P.S.  I still maintain we can prevent future problems simply by remediating past problems, for example, focusing our collective attention and efforts on enforcing existing ballot eligibility laws.



If a state law requires a B/C as documentation for ballot access, the state should require the candidate to request from the lawful authority of the candidate’s ‘place of birth’ state to issue that identification document and in that request, the document must be sent directly to the state official (SoS, state election official) and this would be similar to applying for a passport.I went to apply for a passport in 1979 at the county office (so much younger and not so much money). I brought my hospital issued birth paper with my little footprint on it which my mom kept for so many years. The clerk said that’s no good and you have to use the one from the the department agency in the state where were born.  I wanted a copy of my birth certificate so I said to the county clerk, “I want a copy of my B/C so can I get the B/C from my state and make a copy for myself (being thrifty) and then send it to the them (Office of Passport Services/Customer Service).”  She said, ” No, you can’t, the certified B/C must go directly to them from the state agency where you were born who keeps those records, they won’t accept one from you”.  (I thought to myself, ‘What! don’t they trust me?’)  So I had to send off another request of my own to get a certified copy (that blew my budget.)  In other words the federal government who issues passports requires the certified B/C copy to go directly to them from the state agency who keeps the B/C record.So the states with eligibility laws requiring documentation should do the same by requiring the candidate to request a certified original B/C copy from the candidate’s place of birth state agency and send it directly to the SoS or state election official.  The SoS and/or state election officials would and should respect the candidate applicant’s personal information and not release any copies of the certified B/C copy to the public but the state could require the document to be available for public viewing only at the office of the SoS (no copies made).  This would preserve the integrity of a genuine birth identification document. (I think once that the act of making a copy of the an official certified original or short form B/C copy, then that copy instantly becomes a false identification document, no embossed state seal, no original signature, -“altered”.  There are only two types of identification documents, “genuine” and “false”, http://www.justice.gov/usao/eousa/foia_reading_room/usam/title9/crm01507.htm )  Then it would be up to the candidate to choose whether he wants the public to see it or not, …and that answer may conclude whether or not he wants to be able to achieve ballot access. The SoS and/or state election officials should not accept a certified B/C copy, original or not, from the candidate or anyone else except from “lawful authority” as defined in U.S. Code 1028.

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