In a humorous reversal of roles, it is Hawaii that is asking for proof of eligibility. USA Today reports that Hawaii Special Assistant Attorney General Joshua Wisch says that in numerous requests from the Arizona Secretary of State, Ken Bennett hasn’t provided the authority under which he is eligible to request verification of Obama’s birth certificate. (See photo of USS Arizona on fire in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, right.)
Hawaiian law allows release of a “verification in lieu of a certified copy” to certain individuals. The way the certification works is that the applicant provides a list of information, and the State of Hawaii verifies it (or not). However the law, §338-18 Disclosure of records, which Hawaii is extremely strict in enforcing, requires that those making the request fit into these categories:
(1) A person who has a direct and tangible interest in the record but requests a verification in lieu of a certified copy;
(2) A governmental agency or organization who for a legitimate government purpose maintains and needs to update official lists of persons in the ordinary course of the agency’s or organization’s activities;
(3) A governmental, private, social, or educational agency or organization who seeks confirmation of a certified copy of any such record submitted in support of or information provided about a vital event relating to any such record and contained in an official application made in the ordinary course of the agency’s or organization’s activities by an individual seeking employment with, entrance to, or the services or products of the agency or organization;
(4) A private or government attorney who seeks to confirm information about a vital event relating to any such record which was acquired during the course of or for purposes of legal proceedings; or
(5) An individual employed, endorsed, or sponsored by a governmental, private, social, or educational agency or organization who seeks to confirm information about a vital event relating to any such record in preparation of reports or publications by the agency or organization for research or educational purposes.
According to Wisch, I correctly identified in a previous article the provision (in bold face above) of Hawaiian law under which Arizona is making the request, but I was wrong about how picky they would be in granting it:
Wisch says Hawaii state laws require Bennett to show legal authority that this office needs the records to update its official lists as part of its ordinary work.
In fact, Bennett doesn’t need a birth certificate to put Barack Obama on the ballot so far as it is required by any Arizona law that I am aware of. Should Bennett not provide Hawaii with his authority, and he refuses to put Obama on the ballot, as an unpublished email reports him committed to do, then we could see Barack Obama suing Arizona. That would be a mess. I, however, expect that some accommodation will be made short of a lawsuit that would not be in the interests of the Obama Campaign.
I applied for a verification in lieu myself in 2008 under (5), but the State never cashed my money order or replied.