This came in the mail:
I ran across a birther argument [on Free Republic] I could not answer. Obama’s COLB has a “Date Filed,” whereas other COLB’s posted on the internet have a “Date Accepted.”
The birthers seem to be attaching a lot of significance to this discrepancy. I briefly searched the Hawaii DOH websites to see if I could find any information on what it might mean, but was unsuccessful.
If you have time, you may want to explore this further. I’d be curious to know what you find.
Look at the “Alan” birth certificate (long form from 1963)
The short answer is that other Hawaiian birth certificates in the Internet DO say “Date Filed” on them and in general that is what most Birth Certificates say today to meet Passport requirements.
When a Vital Records agency prints an abstract form like Obama’s COLB they put old data in the current format. Without a definitive policy from the Health Department, we can’t tell which of the two blocks from the birth registration, 20 or 22 went on Obama’s form. I would think it’s block 22, the date the State accepted the record from the local registrar.
Even today, birth registration is sometimes done by local agencies (for example a county health department in Indiana). Note that the signature next to the Date Accepted (block 20) is that of a military officer (COL, MSC, USA), which would indicate that the signer was most likely someone over the U. S. Army Tripler General Hospital.
The Alan document would have been forwarded to the State from the Army hospital and it would be stamped with a state-wide certificate number (or File Number in this case). You see the state acceptance date 4 days later (block 22).
Look at this Hawaiian Death Certificate from 1992.
It also has two blocks and they are labeled “Date received by local registrar” and “Date Filed by State Registrar”. Page 6 of that document shows a 1991 version of the COLB which looks to be hand typed on some decent security paper and shows only “Date Received by Local Registrar”.
Some modern COLB’s say “Date Accepted by State Registrar” and some say “Date Filed by Registrar”. Below is another example with the same wording as Obama’s.
[Image courtesy of “Ron Polarik”] Click to enlarge.
I received a second email that fleshed out the “argument” a little more:
His birth certificate was placed on file with the State of Hawaii, but it was never accepted by the state and placed into the official record of birth certificates. That is why his Certification of Live Birth (the short form) says “Date Filed By Registrar” instead of “Date Accepted By State Registrar” which is the statement that is normally on a COLB.
This is a good example of someone making up facts as they go along.
The Date Filed is the important date because US Passport regulations accept a birth certificate FILED within one year as proof of citizenship without further documentation. If for some reason Obama’s birth registration had not been “accepted” by the state, then the state wouldn’t issue it.
A certified birth certificate has a registrar’s raised, embossed, impressed or multicolored seal, registrar’s signature, and the date the certificate was filed with the registrar’s office, which must be within 1 year of your birth.
Since the original publication of this article, a response was received from the Hawaii Department of Health regarding this question. The reply was as follows:
In regards to the terms “date accepted” and “date filed” on a Hawaii birth certificate, the department has no records that define these terms. Historically, the terms “Date accepted by the State Registrar” and “Date filed by the State Registrar” referred to the date a record was received in a Department of Health office (on the island of O‘ahu or on the neighbor islands of Kaua‘i, Hawai‘i, Maui, Moloka‘i, or Lana‘i), and the date a file number was placed on a record (only done in the main office located on the island of O‘ahu) respectively.
Historically, most often the “date accepted” and the “date filed” is the same date as the majority of births occur on O‘ahu (the island with the largest population in our state). In the past, when births were recorded on paper they may have been accepted at a health office on an island other than O‘ahu, such as Kaua‘i. The paper record would then need to be sent to O‘ahu to have a file number placed on it, and the filed date would then be sometime later (as you know, the state of Hawai‘i is comprised of multiple islands with miles of water in between). The electronic age has changed this process significantly, and it was determined some time ago that one date would suffice.
Hawaii State Department of Health
What I find most informative in this response is the confirmation that certificates are numbered centrally, something I have been saying had to be the case.
Update 3: Something has been staring me in the face for two years and I never noticed it. There is no “Date Filed” on a Hawaiian long form birth certificate from 1961. The COLB is abstracted from the long form. Therefore, no matter what the COLB says, the date on it is the “Date Accepted” because that’s the only date on the form it’s copied from. Hawaii may have changed terms, but the 1961 form only has a “Date Accepted” on it.