Judge dismisses case asking to take Rubio and Cruz off Florida primary ballot

A Florida judge took only a minute to dismiss a case that alleged that Republican presidential candidates Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz should not be included on the state’s primary ballot because of their citizenship.

Broward County Judge John Bowman said to the plaintiff, Michael Voeltz, that he lacked standing in attempting to have the two GOP candidates removed from Florida’s March 15 primary ballot.

The case, which is similar to ones filed against Cruz in Texas and Illinois, concerned the phrase “natural born citizen” and how that applies to the two Republican senators. Rubio was born in Miami to Cuban immigrant parents, and Cruz was born in Canada to a Cuban father and an American mother before moving to Texas at age 4.

Lawyers for both Rubio and Cruz argued that their clients met the criteria under the Constitution to run for president. Legal experts argue that a “natural born citizen” is someone born in the United States and the Naturalization Act of 1790 adds that children born abroad to U.S. citizens were also considered natural born citizens.

Voeltz, who filed a similar suit against President Barack Obama in 2012, argued that a natural born citizen has to be a person born in the U.S. to American parents.

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The dismissal comes only a few days after Cook County Circuit Judge Maureen Ward Kirby tossed a suit challenging Cruz’s eligibility for the Illinois ballot because he was born in Canada. Kirby ruled that the plaintiff, Chicago attorney Lawrence Joyce, did not properly file the petition to remove Cruz from the ballot.

Kirby said Joyce failed to give a copy of the petition to Cruz or state electoral board members, as required by Illinois law. Instead, Joyce served only lawyers representing Cruz and the board.

"I recognize that election decisions are of great importance to the public," the judge said. "But it's a matter of strict compliance."

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