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Kansas Birther Case Ends After Joe Montgomery Withdraws Objection to Obama On Ballot

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A Kansas resident has dropped his objection to President Barack Obama appearing on the state's ballot.
A Kansas resident has dropped his objection to President Barack Obama appearing on the state's ballot.

A Kansas man who filed an objection with the state to President Barack Obama appearing on the state's ballot, is withdrawing his objection.

Joe Montgomery's decision, which he communicated in an email to the secretary of state's office Friday afternoon, ends a process that caused the all-Republican Kansas Objections Board to vote unanimously Thursday to seek further information before making a decision on whether Obama could be on the ballot.

Montgomery told The Huffington Post Friday afternoon that public reaction to the complaint led him to decide against continuing. He declined to say exactly what was said in the calls and emails he received, but indicated that people who knew him both personally and professionally were also contacted about the complaint.

"I didn't file this objection with the desire to involve anyone else. This is me expressing myself on a personal political level," he said. "I would appreciate it if people would not call anyone associated with me, whether a personal or professional association."

Montgomery, who works at Kansas State University, filed the objection Monday, claiming Obama was not a "natural born citizen" because his father was a citizen of the United Kingdom and Kenya, and that U.S. citizenship is conferred "primarily" through the father. He also said that Obama has not shown "valid, certified documentary evidence" of being born in the United States.

Montgomery wanted to start a dialogue with his objection, he said. "I have not been successful in that objective," he told HuffPost. "Not in achieving a constructive dialogue."

The state Objections Board -- consisting of Secretary of State Kris Kobach, Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer and Attorney General Derek Schmidt -- voted to delay a final decision, saying it needed more evidence and would reach out to Hawaiian officials for certification of the president's birth certificate, along with officials in Arizona and Mississippi. The board expressed concern that Obama's campaign did not appear before the board and only sent a letter with its position. Obama's campaign attorney Kip Wainscott wrote the board that Montgomery's objection was "baseless" and that Obama's eligibility has already been determined by state and federal courts.

The board's decision has led at least one Democrat, state Rep. Ann Mah (D-Topeka), to accuse Kobach of pandering.

"It is a little disappointing that a board that has two out of three members as attorneys who should understand the Constitution made this decision," said Mah, the ranking minority member of the House Elections Committee.

"But we are in Kansas, and Kobach has been waiting for this moment for a long time. The pretense that this has any validity and needs further investigation is ridiculous. Kobach seems to enjoy this type of thing. It panders to his base of birthers."

Kobach, an informal adviser to Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, said at the board meeting that he was not acting in a partisan role, but rather wanted as much information as possible before the board made a final decision.

Mah told HuffPost she believes the episode has hurt the state's reputation. "They are making Kansas a laughing stock again," she said, referring to Kobach, Colyer and Schmidt.

UPDATE: 7:06 p.m. -- The Kansas secretary of state's office sent out a statement Friday saying that the state Objections Board will meet as scheduled Monday morning. The statement said the meeting, which starts at 10 a.m. CT, will consider Montgomery's complaint and his decision to withdraw the objection. Kobach's spokeswoman, Kay Curtis, told the Topeka Capitol-Journal that the withdrawal is "unprecedented" and the meeting would be held to accept it.

The Objections Board was formed more than a century ago by state law and is considered a quasi-judicial agency that meets when objections are filed to candidates on the ballot. The board has held more meetings than usual this year, due to objections filed after the state's redistricting process. During Thursday's meeting, the board heard three other objections in addition to the to Obama, including disqualifying comedian Roseanne Barr from the state's presidential ballot.

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