It’s like a drivers license…
A drivers license is a state certification of your identity and the fact that you meet all the requirements to drive. You don’t get a license until every requirement is met. The same is true with a birth certificate; a certificate is not issued until every requirement for registration is met. The idea that the State of Hawaii issues birth certificates for births that do not fully meet their requirements for registration is like suggesting that they issue drivers licenses to people who haven’t passed the driving test. The suggestion that Barack Obama’s birth hasn’t been “accepted” is patently absurd.
I was at the birth certificate factory today and I went over to one of the old timers, and I said to him, “you remember about 15 years ago you were talking to me about sticking a birth certificate into one of those numbering machines?” He said, “sure I remember; that was New Jersey”.
He told me that the hospitals in New Jersey entered information into a computer system (this was something that ran on a PC under MS-DOS) and that computer system would dial-up the state computer system and transfer the record using a modem. The hard-copy paperwork went to the local registrar (if memory serves me right this is a county official) who checked them and sent them to the state. Once the state was finished they would stick the paper certificate into a slot in a desktop numbering machine, and then type the certificate number into the computer system with the electronic record.
All this time Deep Birther was there, and Grandma (I haven’t mentioned Grandma before). What ensued was a lively discussion about how every state is different in their process. Grandma told me that in South Dakota, even though they have an all electronic system, they still have the computer number certificates in electronic batches that may include births for multiple days. I ask what order the certificates were numbered in, and the reply was that it wasn’t in any particular order within the batch as best she recalled.
The old timer was probably remembering from the 1980. None of us go back to 1961 in the business. No one at the Hawaii Department of Health goes back to the 60’s either. So this leaves us to speculate as best we can.
What the State of Hawaii says…
We do have this from Hawaii DOH spokesperson, Janice Okubo:
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.
Okubo leaves out one vital fact in her narrative. There is no“Date filed by the State Registrar” on an original Hawaiian birth certificate from the 1960’s. Check out the Alan certificate from 1963. Whatever date was abstracted from Barack Obama’s original birth certificate and printed on the COLB, it was NOT the date filed; there is no date filed. Okubo says, and we may reasonably assume based on the published Obama birth certificate, that the Date Accepted by the Local Registrar and the Date Accepted by the Registrar General were the same and were August 8, 1961. That’s the date that Obama’s certificate entered the work flow at the Department of Health.
We know from Okubo that numbering the certificate came at the end of the process. We don’t know whether the process in between took minutes, hours, days or weeks. There’s no reason to assume that the numbers were assigned precisely in the same order that the certificates were accepted (due to batching, stacking and the division of work between staff).
What we do know is that the records were accepted first, and filed last, and we know that the date filed does not appear on the birth certificate from 1961.