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Arizona House approves 'birther' bill

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Arizona House approves 'birther' bill

Candidates would have to prove citizenship

  • robeeena/Flickr

Despite criticism from the right and the left, and questions of legality, Arizona's House of Representatives has voted to advance a bill demanding that future presidential candidates prove their citizenship.

SB 1024 would require proof "that the candidate is a natural born citizen, prove the candidate's age and prove that the candidate meets the residency requirements for President of the United States."

Rep. Judy Burges, a Republican from Skull Valley who sponsored a bill with identical language, told the issue was an important one.

“This is one way to bring back integrity and transparency to the voting system,” she said. “Half of the people thinks everything is fine. The other half doesn’t.

“We are trying to solve a problem.”

Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Phoenix, asked the bill be stopped in its tracks.

"Can we please stop having Arizona be the laughingstock of the nation?" she said on the House floor.

The measure is not aimed at President Obama, supporters say. But will ensure that future candidates meet all Constitutional requirements. "Birther" conspiracy believers claim Obama was not born in Hawaii and therefore is ineligible to be president. He would have to prove his citizenship in order to be on Arizona's ballot if he runs for re-election in 2012, if the bill becomes law.

“If he decides to run in two years, then he should provide his information and he shouldn’t have a problem,” Burges said, according to

But Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett, a Republican who would have to approve those documents, isn't even sure the law would be legal. Press aide Matthew Benson said Bennett believes the measure would violate the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution by having states set eligibility requirements for candidates for federal office, according to the Arizona Daily Star.

"While everyone has an interest in ensuring that only eligible citizens run for president, there are obvious issues with states implementing what could become a patchwork of different tests for a presidential candidate to prove his (or) her citizenship," Benson said.

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