Do Presidential candidates have to prove they are natural born citizens?

This election cycle is strange, in that both candidates have had their right to run as President questioned based upon their status as natural-born citizens. I ran for statewide office a while back, and the only thing I was required to do was sign a statement swearing that I am a “qualified elector”. That’s it, no proof required, just the basic claim. And I only had to offer that to the party, as the state simply assumed that the party had adequately proven that I met all qualifications for the office in question.

In regards to questions about Obama’s birth certificate, I’ve heard people say “He was thoroughly investigated before he became the candidate.” Is that true? Does the party require proof?

So, does a Democrat or Republican Presidential candidate have to prove, either to the party or the Federal government that they are, in fact, natural-born citizens? The requirement is in the Constitution, but is there any mechanism in place to verify that the qualifications have been met?

A person’s candidacy can be challenged in the courts. There’s no legal requirement to investigate a candidate’s citizenship status before they run, but it’s in his opponent’s best interests to investigate it. It’s easy to determine whether someone was a citizen at birth, which is why presidential candidates haven’t been seriously legally challenged on the issue so far. Nobody could get away with it if they tried.