New Hampshire Considers Birther Rules

Should candidates for president prove to the states that they're eligible for the office? That would be the simplest way to deal with the failure of the federal Constitution to offer enforcement provisions.

The New Hampshire House Election Law Committee is expected to consider an amendment that would require presidential candidates to present birth certificates when filing their candidacies for the New Hampshire first-in-the-nation primary.

In an e-mail obtained by the Granite Status, election law committee chairman David Bates, R-Windham, tells fellow committee members that at an executive session tomorrow an amendment to House Bill 421 will be proposed that "will insure candidates for office of President meet the qualifications in U.S. Constitution."

Bates told the Granite Status he supports the modified amendment, first proposed by Rep. Susan DeLemus, because "I think that there are many people who want to ensure that people who run for office are qualified for that office, particularly the office of President of the United States.

"All this does is ensure that all candidates meet the qualifications prescribed in the U.S. Constitution."

The Granite Status has learned that some members of leadership are concerned that the amendment, if passed, could be a threat to the New Hampshire first-in-the-nation primary.

The concern is that if such a "birther" provision is approved, it would be an embarrassment to the state and could cause some candidates, possibly including President Barack Obama, not to file for the primary out of protest.

House policy director Greg Moore said, "I do know that everyone across the philosophical spectrum puts a lot of emphasis on protecting the New Hampshire primary. It's an institutional thing and not something that is focused on any particular party."

According to news reports, similar legislation has been considered or is under considertion in nearly a dozen other states.