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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Judge tosses case seeking to remove Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz from Florida ballot



A Broward judge dismissed a case that alleged GOP presidential candidates Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz were ineligible to run for president based on their citizenship.

Judge John Bowman told the plaintiff, Michael Voeltz, that he lacked standing in filing the case seeking to get Rubio and Cruz removed from the Florida March 15 primary ballot.

“You have the right to vote,’’ Bowman said in Friday morning’s court hearing in Broward County court.

The crux of the case: the meaning of the phrase “natural born citizen’’ and how it applies to the two Republican senators. Rubio was born in Miami in 1971 to Cuban immigrants who became citizens a few years later. Cruz was born in Canada to a Cuban-born father and American mother, who moved to Texas when Cruz was 4.

Lawyers for both — David Di Pietro for Cruz and Gabriela Prado for Rubio — argued that the candidates met the criteria in the U.S. Constitution to run for president.

The U.S. Constitution states that a presidential candidate must be a “natural born citizen.” Most legal experts say that the phrase means someone who is a citizen at birth. Also, the Naturalization Act of 1790, passed by Congress three years after the Constitution was written, stated that children born abroad to U.S. citizens were natural born citizens.

But Voeltz argued that the definition of “natural born citizens” refers to those born in the United States whose parents are U.S. citizens.

Voeltz filed a similar case against President Barack Obama in 2012, which was tossed out by a Leon County judge.

Voeltz works at a car dealership and represented himself. He also named the Republican Party of Florida as a co-defendant in the Broward case.

The primary is March 15 but voting is already underway by mail and early voting.

[Last modified: Friday, March 4, 2016 1:46pm]


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