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. Willy Brown

    Barry show them your real American B.C. and this will all go away.

    April 20, 2010 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  2. Smith in Oregon

    Is it a terrific Irony or extreme Stupidity that Arizona, John McCain and Sarah Palin have been actively pushing the birther issue in regards to President Obama's birth in Hawaii one of America's States, and YET John McCain himself was born in the Panama Canal Zone, Panama, in 1936, in the US Navy Hospital in Coco Solo on the Atlantic side!!!

    Was the Panama Canal Zone a US State? NO, never was and never has been.

    April 20, 2010 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  3. Desmond in Canada

    Looking in from outside: These "birthers" and their like that infest the Republican Party are such sore and bitter losers – not that people need to feel like losers because somebody else got more votes. No matter how they try to rationalize it, in this case they are also out and out racists. It will be a very sad day for the USA if these people ever dupe you into giving them power again.

    April 20, 2010 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  4. 8 Years of the Bush Error = Recession and Record Unemployment for ? Years.

    This pathetic people deserve our pity for having an IO of a number 2 pencil.

    April 20, 2010 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  5. Pam

    You would think they'd be embarrassed to be so stupid! I used to love to visit Arizona, it's very beautiful. But I'm done with a state that is so full of complete racist idiots. And McCain just gets more and more weird. I'm shocked at how many stupid people there are in this country. I thought most of the republican dimwits were in the South, but apparently there's no shortgage of wackos in in AZ.

    April 20, 2010 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  6. Brian L

    Arizona is corrupt..... Why else would they have the "Cubs tax"...... A Tax on the 14 other spring training teams to support the Cubs?????

    If the TEA party is true they would vote out ALL the incumbents..... Not just democrats!

    April 20, 2010 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  7. m smith

    Just one mor example of how the party of no and their buddies the baggers are wasteing the tax payers money and the American peoples time. We have major issues facing us and they choose to spend time on this trash. Federal law should rule. Or have maybe they should not get federal funds.

    April 20, 2010 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  8. m smith

    What a waste of taxpayer money. Get a life and move on you idiot birthers

    April 20, 2010 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  9. John D

    Obama is no elligible to be President1 He is not a natural born citizen of the United States. He knows it! He has blocked every attempt to prove it and the document that has been passed around is not legitimate. It does not have a doctor or midwifes signature or even a place for them to sign the document. He is not our President until he shows a legitimate certificate of birth. He was born in Kenya and is a subject of Great Britain!

    April 20, 2010 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  10. TonyInLargo

    We have a bunch of dumb politicians here in Florida too, so it doesn't surprise me that Arizona has its share. I also don't see this as a big problem. We have more important things to worry about than a group of nitwits who don't read and have yet to inform themselves that the issue has been thoroughly investigated and debunked by the free press.

    April 20, 2010 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  11. EX-SC Pub

    My wife and I were planning a week long trip to Arizona this summer... the Grand Canyon, Sedona and Pheonix. Now with these Wing Nuts new state laws... carry guns concealed without permit; police to jump every Latino for proof of documentaion; and now the "birthers" law...
    We've just cancelled our hotels and planned a trip to San Francisco.
    Perhaps others should do the same!

    April 20, 2010 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  12. Jeremy

    Seriously? I used to think stupid people were funny, but I am starting to get a little scared...

    April 20, 2010 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  13. alphonso

    i bet alot of people now hope that former arizona governor napolitono had not accept a job n the obama administration!

    April 20, 2010 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  14. Ca Dream America

    Not surprised at all.....All minorities are under attack in AZ....

    April 20, 2010 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  15. BB

    What a bunch of Morons.
    I never knew I lived amongst so many "freaks".
    Wow!!!

    GO OBAMA!!!!! YOU ARE INCREDIBLE!!!!! 2012 Baby!!!!!
    I am so proud that you are our President!!!

    April 20, 2010 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  16. w l jones

    I am beginning to wonder whether some of the elective official were born in Azizona or Mexico.maybe just maybe they will have to change the laws out there whether any elective could be a spoke person for this state.

    April 20, 2010 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  17. Norah (Boston, MA)

    This "birther" nonsense is a continued embarrassment to the US. I would imagine that there are many sane people in Arizona- I know some very nice people there, but this kind of craziness makes the whole state look bad. This- and the authority that they are trying to give the police that is just an example of pure racism. The good people of Arizona need to take back their state from the crazies.
    Possibly someone can tell Bryan on this post that Obama's birth record has been shown- and verified by the state of Hawaii. Not to believe this- or the newspaper announcements AT THE TIME OF HIS BIRTH, is just pure insanity- or worse.

    April 20, 2010 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  18. Brett from Phoenix

    This is the best thing that could ever happen for the right–force Obama legally to release the certificate. Not because I think we'll find he's not a citizen, but because I think it will confirm he is one.

    It benefits Obama greatly that some of the documentation is not public: it generates doubt about his citizenship among a small fringe element of the political right and Obama can then smear the whole right as radical birthers. So, if the great state of Arizona requires him to reveal the rest of his documents, it will actually help guard the non-birther right from the radical birther smear.

    Besides, Obama doesn't need to be born in Kenya to be un-American or, at least, a bad president. Spending with taxpayer money like there's no tomorrow is reason enough: Vote him out in 2012!

    April 20, 2010 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  19. Chris

    How long had Hawaii been a state when President Obama was born – a couple of years? So, wouldn't make sense that their birth certificates might look different than those from states that had been around for 100-plus years? And why would there have been an announcement of his birth (including his parent's home address!) in the Honolulu newspaper if he wasn't born there?

    Seriously, folks. This is ridiculous.

    April 20, 2010 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  20. Jin

    I agree with Indie. If Arizona illegally tries to interfere with Federal elections, withdraw all federal funding.

    April 20, 2010 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  21. Xarmayne

    Very interesting. "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." " However They are not willing to accept the documentws that exist!

    Don't we already have a Federal Election Commission that does this?
    "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."".

    April 20, 2010 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  22. disgusted

    Yes. Arizona is indeed a laughing stock.

    April 20, 2010 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  23. James Steward

    Racism is live and well. When Barack Obama won the election, for a moment, i thought America had finally turned the corner of racism and began down the road of acceptance and equality. What a shock. I have not seen this much hate in all my years on this earth. This man has done some remarkable things considering what was handed to him on January 20, 2009. I was at the Inauguration, and as I watched President Obama take the Oath of Office, I mumbled to myself, "do you know what you are getting into". I don't think any of us knew. President Obama has been the Republican Parties worse nightmare. They hate him. How sad. It goes to show, they would rather see the country go down the toilet, than see a Black Democratic President turn things around. No wonder we are hated around the world...the hypocrisy is astounding and the bigotry is numbing.

    April 20, 2010 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  24. paul

    Hey AZ, your boy lost the election, get over it already!!!!!!!!

    April 20, 2010 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  25. Xarmayne

    Just so you don't have to read to the end to see this.
    "More Republican Stupidity. I guess they can't read the. Title 8 Section 1401 of the U.S. code clearly states: Any one born outside the United States, if one parent is an alien and as long as the other parent is a citizen of the U.S. who lived in the U.S. for at least five years (with military and diplomatic service included in this time), is an American citizen. Since his mother fits part 2 of the sentence, he is an American citizen no matter where he was born."

    April 20, 2010 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
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