April 20th, 2010
05:04 PM ET
5 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. Obama Victim

    what is the big deal??? produce the certificate and all this goes away? what is he hiding??

    April 20, 2010 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  2. paksa

    If there is no problem and nothing to hide, then let's be as transparent as possible. Transparency is a good thing.

    April 20, 2010 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  3. j

    They do realize that McCain was born outside the US in Panama, don't they? Would he be allowed to run in Arizona?

    April 20, 2010 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  4. Joe

    Please don't paint all Arizonans with the same brush.

    April 20, 2010 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  5. April62

    SHAME ON YOU ARIZONA!! You're a lovely state, but I will never visit you again, no matter what! I want no part in a state that is known for its racist attitude and for its bull-headed attitude. Accept it already.....President Obama is a US citizen, and he won the 2008 presidential election fair and square. Arizonians are a bunch of sore-losers who can't accept that McCain, their lame excuse of a senator, lost the 2008 presidential campaign. Maybe if they opened their eyes and realized what kind of a person he really is (I read an interesting article on his life and how he got to where he is today - shame on him!), they might be happy he lost! I hope he loses in November!

    April 20, 2010 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  6. reality

    Why does race always have to be inerjected into any conversation about Obama. This is a legitamate questions, and any US Citizen should be able to produce a birth certificate at any moment. Let's not detract from the issue at hand, a birth certificate has yet to be produced.

    April 20, 2010 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  7. Eddie B

    This is pathetic. Do you know what kind of security background check you have to go thru just to be a federal employee for like the Immigration Department!?!?! Do these idiots really believe that the President did not have to go thru this or let alone a Senator?

    This is pure racism and they know it. They have never had any other candidate go thru this nonsense.

    I dare them try not to put his name on the ballot there. These are overtones of people that want to turn this country back to the Civil War.

    April 20, 2010 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  8. Jason

    Black must certainly mean "foreign". With all the issues that need resolutions, this is what Arizona legislators feel deserves attention. What an embarrassment....

    April 20, 2010 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  9. Eddie B

    How many times does he have to produce his birth certificate? Any fool can find it online along with the announcement in the newspaper then. These people are out of their minds. There are still people on here stating this.

    April 20, 2010 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  10. Crazy ass human being

    Fact: Obama received over 50% of the Popular vote and over 50% of the Electoral Vote. Hence he is the President of The United States of America. He is a natural born citizen.(google obama's birth certificate)
    Get over it morons. He will be president until January 2013 (longer, if he repeated the above requirements) He has my repeat vote in November of 2012. By then I hope all of you morons move to China
    bye now!

    April 20, 2010 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  11. catmomtx

    And where was John McCain born????????????????

    April 20, 2010 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  12. MCD

    And the Politicians and the media can't figure out why The People are so fed up! I just can't believe that their legislature wasted time on this. If I lived in Arizona I would be livid. Address the problems The People want addressed and quit grandstanding!!!!

    April 20, 2010 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  13. Michelle

    Gee, Arizona, the birth certificate is widely available on the web...do you guys know how to turn on a computer? And, gosh, someone better prove where in Panama McCain was born, and Palin better get her own paperwork in order, including more medical data than a nice letter from her doctor. This is just stupid, but then, considering the adoring legion of Palin and Bachmann droolers, what can you expect?

    April 20, 2010 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  14. Brass

    Those birthers are crazy. They are pretty close to the lunatic fringe that praise Obama day in and day out.

    April 20, 2010 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  15. Danielle

    Not only did they pass a bill that allows guns w/o a concealed weapons permit but now they are in the process of passing a bill that legalizes racial profiling. Not to mention a special election in May that could mean another couple million dollars in spending cuts to state education and public safety. I love this state...

    April 20, 2010 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  16. Darth Vadik, CA

    You could have the doctor that delivered Obama in Hawaii stand with Obama's birth certificate on top of the Empire State Building and the wingnuts would not believe it, or find another reason (besides already ingrown racism) to dislike Obama....

    ....while the insurance companies, wall street, and the oil companies are robbing them dry....

    ...way to have your priorities in order there "wise" ones....

    April 20, 2010 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  17. badger

    Apparently the racist have taken over AZ, show your card or go to jail.

    April 20, 2010 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  18. Allen in Hartwell GA

    So is Arizona going to let 100 or so state politicians make them the laughing stock of the world?

    April 20, 2010 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  19. Bob in Pa

    Can the birther, racist, and loser remarks. Grow up and just answer the questions below.

    What is it that was so important that it needed to be hidden from the American people?

    Why was so much money and effort spent to prevent the certificate from being produced ?

    All he had to do was show his actual certificate and every one of the so called "Birthers" would have had egg on their face. Instead he hired teams of lawyers to take the battle to court. I think it is all a case of he simply lied. He was born in Kenya and lied about it.

    Is he a US citizen – yes.
    But his lie(s) take away from his credibility and probably would have cost him the election.

    April 20, 2010 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  20. Jarhead

    Seems to me that once the nominees are picked by the parties and it is a Federal election, Arizona may be setting itself up to not be counted if not reconizing those on the federal ticket. Has anyone thought this may also deny people the right vote their choice? Maybe The time could be spent on that unemployment rate in Arizona, it is in the top ten worst economic conditions right now. Smokescreen anyone?

    April 20, 2010 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  21. He's yeller

    It has to do with Pres. Obama's color.

    April 20, 2010 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  22. Greg, San Francisco, CA

    If the Grand Canyon wasn't located in Arizona, there would be no reason to keep them in the Union.

    April 20, 2010 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  23. Mark Ferbet, KCMO

    It has been proven over and over again that our President is a US Citizen. He was born in the United States, and that's the end of it. In order to even be a candidate for President, he had to go through a very thorough vetting process that was done while the Republican President was still in office.

    Arizona is wasting their time, their tax payers money, and making fools of themselves with this latest attempt to discredit the President.

    And, if by chance, they decide that has credentials are not up to muster, then, the state of Arizona apparently will not participate in the Presidential election of 2012. By only putting Republican Candidates on the ballot, they are not giving their citizens a choice, and the State will be virtually ignored during the next election cycle.

    April 20, 2010 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  24. badger

    Hitler and the Nazi's started this way, everyone had to show papers and prove they weren't Jews, rumor has it they have started building the gas chambers out in the desert. I hope they name the place the Burges Memorial Burn Center.

    April 20, 2010 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  25. Steve (Jackson, MS)

    They probably don't think people from New Mexico are US Citizens either. Can't we just rescind Arizona's statehood on the grounds of collective stupidity?

    April 20, 2010 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
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