Blogger Butterdezillion along with Mr. Hendershot have made a big deal about the wording of a series of verifications of the information on Obama’s birth certificate. One commenter here raised the issue succinctly.
Hermitian: The last sentence in SOS Bennett’s request for verification was:
“Additionally, please verify that the attached copy of the Certiﬁcate of Live Birth for Mr. Obama is a true and accurate representation of the original record in your files.”
Onaka was unable to verify this as fact. Instead he responded as follows:
“Additionally, I verify that the information in the copy of the Certificate of Live Birth for Mr. Obama that you attached with your request matches the original record in our files.”
Birthers have focused on the wording of these three verifications, trying to find hidden meaning in what was not said, trying to make what was not said contradict what they clearly intended to say, but in a sense, Hermitian is technically correct. Onaka couldn’t verify the photocopy; however, this was because of the law, not because the photocopy isn’t an accurate image copy of the original. The verifications are worded as they are because of the law governing such verifications:
§338-14.3 Verification in lieu of a certified copy. (a) Subject to the requirements of section 338-18, the department of health, upon request, shall furnish to any applicant, in lieu of the issuance of a certified copy, a verification of the existence of a certificate and any other information that the applicant provides to be verified relating to the vital event that pertains to the certificate.
(b) A verification shall be considered for all purposes certification that the vital event did occur and that the facts of the event are as stated by the applicant.
(c) Verification may be made in written, electronic, or other form approved by the director of health.
(d) The fee for a verification in lieu of a certified copy shall be a maximum of one half of the fee established in section 338-14.5 for the first certified copy of a certificate issued.
(e) Fees received for verifications in lieu of certified copies shall be remitted, and one half of the fee shall be deposited to the credit of the vital statistics improvement special fund in section 338-14.6 and the remainder of the fee shall be deposited to the credit of the state general fund. [L 2001, c 246, §1; am L 2010, c 55, §1]
Dr. Onaka said in the verifications that the certificate existed and was in their files, and that the “information contained” in the White House long form image matches the original. That is precisely what he is allowed to do by law, and nothing else. The law states:
§338-18 Disclosure of records. (a) To protect the integrity of vital statistics records, to ensure their proper use, and to ensure the efficient and proper administration of the vital statistics system, it shall be unlawful for any person to permit inspection of, or to disclose information contained in vital statistics records, or to copy or issue a copy of all or part of any such record, except as authorized by this part or by rules adopted by the department of health.
This blanket prohibition on the release of information constrains Department of Health Officials in what they may and may not do, and gives them no flexibility to deal with the crazy idea that the certificate is a forgery even if everything on it is correct. Rather than looking for hidden meaning, birthers ought to look at the plain requirements of the statute.