Monday, October 18, 2004

Maui Clerk’s Office rules
against House candidate

WAILUKU » A state House candidate on Maui is being barred from voting and is therefore not eligible to run for office because he has not proved he is a U.S. citizen, according to a ruling by the Maui County Clerk's Office.

Democrat Louis Cortez "Cort" Gallup is seeking the 11th District House seat held by Republican Chris Halford.

On Friday, County Clerk Roy Hiraga issued a decision that "Mr. Gallup should be and is hereby disqualified to vote until such time as he is able to prove that he is a citizen of the United States."

The Canadian-born Gallup said there is no doubt he has U.S. citizenship.

In his written arguments to the clerk, Gallup said his mother is from the Cree tribe, and her ancestors had claims to dual citizenship under the Jay Treaty of 1794.

The treaty gives Canadian-born American Indians the right to live and work in the United States and also states that anyone living within U.S. borders for at least one year after the end of the Revolutionary War was to be considered a citizen, Gallup's statement said.

"Mr. Gallup's tribal ancestors remained within the United States for the period described, and thus had American citizenship, which was passed on to their progeny, including Mr. Gallup," Gallup's attorney, Bonnie McFadden, wrote.

Gallup said he was not surprised by the ruling, but that he planned to appeal the decision and continue his campaign. He has 10 days to appeal to the Maui Board of Registration.

"I have an election to win, and that's my job right now," he said.

The county's investigation was launched after Kihei retiree Steve Riford filed a formal challenge to Gallup's eligibility on Sept. 20.

The Hawaii Republican Party later sued to have Gallup removed as a candidate. But the Hawaii Supreme Court threw out the case, saying the GOP had not followed correct procedure by going directly to the court rather than filing a challenge with the county clerk.

Gallup, 40, has said Republicans are afraid because he received more votes than Halford in the primary election. Both were unopposed in the primary.

Hiraga said he consulted with the U.S. immigration director, David Gulick, who stated that an American Indian born in Canada "is an alien and not a citizen of the United States," unless at least one parent was a U.S. citizen.

Gallup said the challenge to his citizenship has not been all negative.

"I have a very keen understanding of my genealogy now," he said.



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