April 20th, 2010
05:04 PM ET
4 years ago

Arizona lawmakers still pushing 'birther' measure

President Obama might have to prove he's a U.S. citizen to get on Arizona's ballot in 2012.
President Obama might have to prove he's a U.S. citizen to get on Arizona's ballot in 2012.

Washington (CNN) - If Arizona lawmakers have their way, President Obama might have to prove he's a U.S. citizen to get on the state's ballot in 2012.

On Monday, Arizona's House of Representatives voted 31-22 to advance legislation that would require presidential candidates to provide documents, including birth certificates, proving their citizenship.

The measure, an amendment to a state Senate bill, must now clear another vote in the House before going back to the Senate. If it clears both chambers, the bill could soon go to Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, who is a Republican. Brewer's office declined to comment on whether the governor supports the proposal.

Critics deride the measure as a "birther bill." That name derives from a fringe movement, dubbed "the birthers," that questions whether President Obama was born in the United States despite proof that he was born in Hawaii in 1961. CNN and other news organizations have thoroughly debunked the rumors about the president's birthplace.

According to the Arizona legislation, parties seeking to put candidates on a state ballot would have to provide "documents that prove 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."

If the Arizona secretary of state "has reasonable cause to believe that the candidate does not meet the citizenship, age and residency requirements prescribed by law, the Secretary of State shall not place that candidate's name on the ballot," the bill states.

The amendment's sponsor, Republican Rep. Judy M. Burges, said through a spokesman that the bill is "an attempt to bring back transparency and confidence in the electoral process."

Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, assistant Democratic leader in the House, called Burges' amendment "crazy" but said it is likely to pass.

"This is just a political statement about our president, which is offensive," Sinema said. "They think that [President] Obama was born in Kenya, even though we have proof that he was born August 4, 1961, in Honolulu, Hawaii," Sinema said.

But Sinema predicted the measure would not pass constitutional muster. States have rarely if ever waded into this area. Arizona has "become the laughingstock of the nation," Sinema said.


Filed under: Arizona • President Obama
soundoff (151 Responses)
  1. Average American

    Birthers are still alive an well in Arizona. The term sore losers comes to mind. Hey AZ, your dude lost. Get over it!

    April 20, 2010 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  2. Jay T.

    I wonder if it has anything to do with him being black. Probably not. There's no such thing as racism in this country.

    April 20, 2010 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  3. Mohammed Mohammed

    Ok so with all the evidence that he was born in the U.S, they still dont believe him, and if the secretary of state in Arizona basically decides that he was not born in the U.S, WITH ALL THE EVIDENCE that he was, the secretary of state can decide that he doesnt believe him and not allow him on the ballot? does anyone see a problem with this

    April 20, 2010 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  4. Smith in Oregon

    Republican Senator John McCain was born in Panama City, Panama on a military base. How IRONIC is it that his naturalization is much more controversial in regards to his presidential bid than President Obama who was born in a American State?

    Why isn't News Media reflecting on John McCain's place of birth? PANAMA!!!

    April 20, 2010 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  5. RAG

    I think it is a Radical Islamic Extremist plot! They are putting stupid pills in peoples food in fast food resturants. That would explain, the Tea Partiers, the Birthers, the "Patriot" militias, Fox News, the Westboro Baptist Church, Glenn Beck (et. al.) and half a dozen other things that are destroying America.

    April 20, 2010 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  6. mbody

    This is so ridiculous. How much time does this party have to waste on nonsense. This president has proving his citizenship time and time again. Lets move on to more important issues, such as jobs.

    April 20, 2010 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  7. Kathy

    I wasn't born in Arizona but have lived here for more than 40 years. I've always said that the heat here fries the brains of our elected representatives.

    April 20, 2010 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  8. Felly

    These guys are idiots!

    April 20, 2010 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  9. ShortMemories

    Hey Bryan what is with you weirdos, his birth certificate has been online since last year, and it looks exactly like mine, issued in Washington state. Maybe each state has a different one, but is is EXACTLY like mine, and no it doesn't have the hospital where I was born or delivery doctor, but it is legal, got my drivers license, passport,etc with it, so what is your problem. Try checking with different states and you may find out that not all birth certificates are the same in each state.

    April 20, 2010 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  10. Felly

    These guys are idiots and non maverickey!

    April 20, 2010 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    How does a state have any control over the election of a President? The Constiution dictates the election of the President, not the states.
    This yet more proof of grandstanding by Republicans becuase they have no real issues to run on.
    They tried Healthcare but found that won;t fly. they are trying the economy but the problem originated with them , so there isn;t much voice behind that. Financial reform is something they did nothing about. So what do they have? Lies misinformaiton ans stupid things like this bill

    April 20, 2010 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  12. Bubba

    Not one person has the story correct. BOs ORGINAL birth certificate has never been shown to the public. I can't remember their title but a highly placed person in the state government confirmed that BOs birth certificate was on file and correct, it was absolutely never produced for anybody or any news organization to see for themselves. Doesn't anybody find that a bit strange?? Why can't the government of Hawaii just once, take it out of it's filing cabinet and show it instead of having some person come out and tell me to trust them, they just saw it and everything is great.

    April 20, 2010 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  13. Cosmo

    There must be a lot of pressing business before the legislature of Arizona. Are they considering a law that Arizona citizens must sign an affidavit declaring that the world is flat?

    April 20, 2010 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  14. socal frank

    The difference between a person with normal intelligence and a person with I. Q. impairment is that a normal person is capable of learning. For example, when we see Obama's birth certificate and we read his birth announcement in the 1961 Honolulu paper we understand that he was born in Hawaii. The mentally impaired are not able to take part in the learning process and no amount of factual explanation will enable them to understand that Obama was born in Hawaii. Unable to learn, they move to Arizona, drive pickup trucks, hang out in bars, and buy guns.

    April 20, 2010 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  15. Jim

    Folks in AZ must be getting too much sunshine and burning out their brains. Let's have all those who voted for this provide proof of their births too!

    April 20, 2010 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  16. Thomas

    Cowboys and Retirees / Guns and penis enhancement !
    By the Time I get to Phenox .

    April 20, 2010 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  17. Steph

    Randolph Carter, you just made me laugh so hard I spit out my diet coke on my keyboard!

    April 20, 2010 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  18. js...santee calif

    Maybe if these wingnuts pass this they will have to believe it when Obama runs again and produces his Birth Certificate again. It will be interesting too see them deny it's real when he complies. I would really like to see them keep him off the ballot, Although I am sure they will think of something. They are wasting their time and their states money with this garbage.

    April 20, 2010 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  19. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Lived in Arizona for almost 40 years and if you knew the demographics of Arizona it would tell you how racially divided this State is. The State's population consist of poor white people who left the mideastern states during the civil rights movement and took their racial hate with them and profited.

    April 20, 2010 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  20. Pedro

    Really, is Arizona facing one of the biggest financial crises of all the states and this is what their legislature is spending time working on?

    April 20, 2010 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  21. 'RUB' THE CLOWN

    Maybe when Rick Perry pulls Texas out of the union, he can take Arizona with him.

    April 20, 2010 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  22. Len Smith

    The Arizona legislature sounds like petty, silly people who lack anything substantial to do to help their state. Sad, very sad

    April 20, 2010 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  23. Lexie

    There is nothing racist about the bill. Just because obamais black..doesn't mean anything anti-obama (which does NOT insinuate that this is Anti-Obama) or not in obama's favor is racist. Ppl stop pulling out the race card to defend this idiot of a president. Anyway..if there are laws and regs in place stating a U.S. citizen is a requirement for pres–then a law to make sure its enforced is NOT THAT BIG OF A DEAL! obama lovers with blinds over your eyes GET OVER IT!

    April 20, 2010 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  24. kravitz

    As Wikipedia notes, "Faced with the boycott (of the SuperBowl), Arizona voters finally approved the holiday by ballot in 1992, and on March 23, 1993, the NFL awarded Super Bowl XXX (1996) to Tempe." So are we shocked that this is happening. Especially after, you'll recall, Obama himself told congress to just say McCain is a U.S. citizen after the Panama Canal birth issue kept coming up.

    April 20, 2010 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  25. CEE

    That's what I would expect from a state like Arizona

    April 20, 2010 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
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