South Dakota Secretary of State Chris Nelson

South Dakota’s chief elections officer says the issue of President Obama’s eligibility is a huge concern among voters in the state, and he thinks the constitutional qualifications for the office are supremely important to the nation.

“I would hope that all Americans would find constitutional qualifications to be an important issue,” Chris Nelson told WND today. “I would hope there would not be any questions about the issue.”

The comments came after Nelson was quoted in a Rapid City newspaper article that poked fun at the issue.

Under the headline, “OK, who doesn’t think he was born in Hawaii?” the newspaper said, “Raise your hand, roll your eyes and sigh softly if you do.”

“Apparently a bunch of folks still doubt he was born in the U.S. of A. – as in, Hawaii – and some still spend a great deal of time and energy on that issue,” the report said.

Here is the only “birth-certificate store” around! Read about the hunt for Obama’s documentation!

So the newspaper asked the three Republican candidates for the state’s U.S. House seat and the Democratic incumbent whether they believe he was born in Hawaii “or someplace else.”

“And where the heck was that someplace else supposed to be again? Kenya? Katmandu? Neptune? I forget…” the report said.

Press Secretary Betsy Hart for U.S. Rep. Stephanie Sandlin, a Democrat, said, “Rep. Herseth Sandlin believes that there is no question about where the president was born, and that we should focus instead on policy issues that affect South Dakota families every day, like creating jobs and cutting government spending.”

Two of the three GOP candidates’ responses were similar:

From Blake Curd came, “Hawaii’s own Republican governor has said President Obama was born there. That’s good enough for me. What concerns me is the direction he and the Democrat-led Congress are taking our country. That’s what I’m focused on. Conservatives should harness their energy towards electing fiscally responsible leaders who will fight reckless spending, our growing debt and higher taxes.”

Kristi Noem said, “South Dakotans have many other important issues they are concerned with, such as jobs, energy, and the economy.”

Nelson told the newspaper, “Yes, meeting the constitutional qualifications to be president is a very important issue. If President Obama isn’t constitutionally qualified, it would be the biggest scam ever perpetuated on the American people. MANY people contacted me as Secretary of State prior to and after the election asking how Obama could be on our ballot given this controversy. Absent a court finding that he isn’t a natural born citizen, we have to take the certification from the National Democratic Convention at face value.”

He told WND the appropriate venue for questions to be resolved would be the court system, and WND has reported on many cases brought over the last 18 months.

Nelson said “a lot” of people raised the question to his office before and after the 2008 election.

“We evaluated all of the evidence,” he told WND. “There was no reason not to put him on the ballot. Nor was there any reason for the South Dakota electors not to act.”

He said his sole responsibility was to determine whether someone should be on the ballot, and there was nothing in the rules or regulations that prevent Obama’s inclusion.

“We had the appropriate certifications Democratic national conference. That is what we have to do,” he said.

On the newspaper’s forum page, “Gonzo” wrote, “I have read both sides of this issue, and still am not convinced one way or another. What I do find very puzzling is why one would spend a million dollars avoiding an issue that could have been easily resovled by merely presenting exhibition of proof.”

“Joe” said it didn’t matter: “If they did find out that Obama was not in fact born in the U.S., then I guess they would boot him. But, I guess the[y] wouldn’t have to impeach him, because he was inelligible (sic) to begin with. I guess we’d just have to put with Joe Biden. Or, would they throw McCain a bone?”

“Jason” said he uses the question as a litmus test and cannot talk with people unless they agree with him that Obama was “born in the U.S.”

WND has covered a multitude of challenges and lawsuits over the issue. Some have alleged that he was not born in Hawaii in 1961 as he has written, or that the framers of the Constitution specifically excluded dual citizens – Obama’s father was a subject of the British crown at Obama’s birth – from being eligible for the office.

There’s a new strategy to get answers to Obama’s eligibility questions. See how you can help.

Besides Obama’s actual birth documentation, the still-concealed documentation for him includes kindergarten records, Punahou school records, Occidental College records, Columbia University records, Columbia thesis, Harvard Law School records, Harvard Law Review articles, scholarly articles from the University of Chicago, passport, medical records, his files from his years as an Illinois state senator, his Illinois State Bar Association records, any baptism records, and his adoption records.

“Where’s The Birth Certificate?” billboard helps light up the night at the Mandalay Bay resort on the Las Vegas Strip.

Because of the dearth of information about Obama’s eligibility, WND founder Joseph Farah has launched a campaign to raise contributions to post billboards asking a simple question: “Where’s the birth certificate?”

The campaign followed a petition that has collected more than 500,000 signatures demanding proof of his eligibility, the availability of yard signs raising the question and the production of permanent, detachable magnetic bumper stickers asking the question.

A new effort now asks those in authority regarding the nation’s elections to demand the full proof.

The “certification of live birth” posted online and widely touted as “Obama’s birth certificate” does not in any way prove he was born in Hawaii, since the same “short-form” document is easily obtainable for children not born in Hawaii. The true “long-form” birth certificate – which includes information such as the name of the birth hospital and attending physician – is the only document that can prove Obama was born in Hawaii, but to date he has not permitted its release for public or press scrutiny.

Oddly, though congressional hearings were held to determine whether Sen. John McCain was constitutionally eligible to be president as a “natural born citizen,” no controlling legal authority ever sought to verify Obama’s claim to a Hawaiian birth.

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