(CONTINUALLY UPDATING, MOST RECENTLY UPDATED 6/20/15) The 2016 US presidential election primary campaign is entering full swing! Now that most of the expected candidates have announced, I wanted to create a list where anyone can reference the birth data of the candidates (of the two major parties) in one place. According to Astrodatabank’s compilation of US birth certificate policies, the vast majority of the candidates have no published birth certificates and were born in closed states (states where the public does not have access to even uncertified copies of birth certificates). This means we will have to rely on the following methods to obtain the birth times for most of the candidates.
1. Asking the candidate directly. You can try official channels by mail, email and phone, but you may not get a response. If they’re having a rally or book signing in a city near you, go with a friend to maximize your chances of getting the question in. Try to get near the ropeline, you might have one or two seconds or less to get their attention and ask the question. Try tweeting the question, especially on a candidate’s birthday since they may be inclined to throw out a little “I’m just like you” story to a non-political question like that, although there may be a deluge of birthday comments on the day of so the best day might be a day or two before their birthday. Stay on the lookout for an AMA (Ask Me Anything) session on Reddit. If you know someone close to the candidate, such as their campaign team, support staff or even a family member, see if they can ask for you. Birth times of celebrities and politicians have been retrieved in these ways before. Still, it’s super awkward to ask, and kind of creeptastic going through a proxy unless you already know the person who would ask on your behalf. As long as you don’t mind being the strangest person they’ve talked to that day, ask.
Pros – It’s straight from the horse’s mouth! Sometimes the details of the birth certificate may not be correct, and only the candidate or the mother would know and be able to tell you. Sometimes it helps to ask even if it’s been asked before because it can corroborate a reported time, but it might also contradict a previous statement or record which gives everyone a chance to re-evaluate the data.
Cons – They may not know. They may misremember. They may get details mixed up, like whether the time was am or pm. They may only have a general idea of the time of day. They may purposely give you a misleading time if they are suspicious of astrology and/or your motives in asking. Particularly with politicians, it’s not necessarily in their interest to give you accurate information, so proceed with caution with the answer you receive, and carefully note the manner in which they answer.
2. Finding an alternate record. Aside from birth certificates, there can be other places where the birth time was recorded.
Biography – If a candidate has a biography or autobiography, there may be a small section on the story of their birth which includes the time. Even if the time is not reported, they may reference the time of day for poetic or narrative flair, which can still yield useful information.
Newspaper birth announcements – These sometimes take quite a bit of detective work. Many old newspapers have not been digitized and are either stored physically or on microfilm. Some libraries you can pay for a librarian to photocopy and send the relevant page you need, but most will not do your work for you. Depending on where the library is, it may be impossible for you to go there and look yourself. Even if you do, there is no guarantee that a time will be recorded in the birth announcement, but sometimes they are, which makes it worth the work.
Baby book – If the candidate’s mother is still alive, then there is a chance they either know the time or they have a private record of the time in a baby book, along with other details from their birth like their height and weight, etc. It goes without saying that contacting the elderly mother of a presidential candidate must be done with extraordinary respect and as a last resort. Services such as whitepages.com can give you an address to mail or a phone number to call.
Hospital records – The hospital was the first place a birth time was recorded to put on a birth certificate and birth announcements, etc. However, accessing these records is not altogether likely given HIPPA laws, but also not likely because when I’ve gone this route before I’ve mostly found that the hospitals people were born in simply don’t exist anymore and I don’t know where else to look. If you think you know a way around accessing a record like this, let me know!
3. Call the birth records office for shits and giggles. There are a few cases where even if a state has restricted access to birth certificates, depending on the day, depending on who picks up, depending on who you’re inquiring about, a clerk may be inclined to give you that small, seemingly innocuous detail of the birth time over the phone, for free. I can’t tell whether it’s the first thing you should do or the last thing you should do, but it is a wildcard option. On that note, you might as well check Vitalchek.com and start putting in the information you need to order a certificate. It will not let you past a certain stage unless there is a match for an actual existing certificate, which can be helpful because then you know your information isn’t correct or that the certificate might exist with a different county or only the county or only the state, etc. In some cases, the state laws may have updated and you might be allowed to order a non-certified copy. That is a bit naiive, but it doesn’t hurt to try.
With all that out of the way, the current status of the 2016 presidential candidate’s birth data can all be found on the next page…