Arizona proposal: Candidates must prove US birth
Friday, January 28, 2022 8:09 PM

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(Source: Associated Press/AP Online)By PAUL DAVENPORT

PHOENIX - Arizona legislators have reintroduced legislation aimed at making President Barack Obama prove his U.S. nationality by birth.

The measure in the Arizona House would prohibit placing presidential and vice-presidential candidates on the state's ballot unless they submit specified documentation of their U.S. birth and other constitutional requirements.

Hawaii officials have repeatedly confirmed Obama's birth in that state, but so-called "birthers" contend Obama was actually born in Kenya, his father's homeland.

The state House narrowly passed a version of the bill in 2010 but it died in the Senate without a vote in the closing days of the legislative session. Secretary of State Ken Bennett had voiced concerns about the 2010 legislation's provision that would have prohibited his office from placing a candidate on the ballot if documents submitted on behalf of a candidate left reasonable doubt about the candidate's eligibility. That would have left the secretary of state with too much discretion, Bennett said through a spokesman at the time.

On Friday, Bennett noted that the reasonable doubt wording is not included in the 2011 version; instead, it mandates submissions of specific sworn statements and a copy of a birth certificate with specific information.

Bennett said he has questions about the new legislation's proposed requirements, noting that required information, including names of a hospital, attending physician and witnesses, might not be on all birth certificates. It would be best if federal-level processes assured the eligibility of presidential candidates, Bennett said.

"But it seems to be obvious that they must not have a process sufficiently implemented at the federal level or we wouldn't still be having questions about the president's birth status."

Bennett, a Republican and a former state Senate president, said he personally believes Obama was born in Hawaii.

This year's bill has not yet been assigned to a committee for a possible hearing. It has 41 co-sponsors, all Republicans and one more than last year. The Legislature has 90 members, with both chambers controlled by Republicans.

The bill's main sponsor, Republican Rep. Judy Burgess of Skull Valley, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Similar bills have been introduced in other states, including Georgia, Missouri, Nebraska, Connecticut, Oklahoma and Texas.

Meanwhile, a legislative bill introduced in Hawaii would change a privacy law barring the release of birth records unless the requester is someone with a tangible interest, such as a close family member.

The Hawaii bill, intended by Obama supporters to dispel claims that Obama was not born in the state, would allow anyone to get a copy of his birth records for a $100 fee.

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