April 15th, 2011
04:00 PM ET

Arizona House OKs bill to make presidential hopefuls prove citizenship

CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) - The Arizona legislature has approved a bill that would require President Barack Obama and other presidential candidates to prove they are American citizens, born in the United States, before their names could be placed on a state ballot.

The "birther bill" got final approval by a vote of 40-16 Thursday night in the state House, according to the legislature's website. To become law, the measure needs to be signed by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican.

Obama has been hounded by allegations since he began running for president in 2008 that he was not born in America. If true, the claim could make him constitutionally ineligible for the nation's highest office. Critics contend, among other things, that he was born in his father's home country of Kenya.

Obama has insisted that he was born in Hawaii, and the allegations against him have been repeatedly discredited in investigations by CNN and other organizations. Nevertheless, the issue remains politically potent among segments of the electorate and has served as a rallying cry for many of the president's opponents, most recently potential GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Arizona's measure, drafted by Republican state Rep. Carl Seel, is designed to show that candidates meet the constitutional requirement that they be "natural born" citizens. Among other things, a candidate would have to show a copy of his or her birth certificate. If a birth certificate can't be produced, a candidate would have to show a combination of baptismal or circumcision records, hospital birth files, postpartum medical records or other documents.

Candidates also would have to submit affidavits declaring their citizenship as well as sworn statements regarding their residency for the previous 14 years.

If there is any dispute, Arizona's secretary of state would have the final say over whether candidates have met the citizenship test.

Seel has repeatedly said the bill is not targeted at Obama.

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soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Paul Ernest Show

    After so much debate, investigative, fabricating and bashing about being born in America or not, I think it's about time that our congress take up this issue in such serious ways, and even amend the constitution to reflect the true realities of our age. The idea that one has to be born in America, to be a president, is simply erroneous , in the sense that it denies some Americans the right to seek the office. I doubt if the forefathers foresaw a time when American soldiers would have to move to Germany or Korea with his family, and while there, give birth to children. When an American independent contractor could settle in any remote part of the world and have children and later return to America with these children. Or even further, an American family could be on vacation outside of the country and give birth to a child. Does any of these possibilities make these children less of Americans, and therefore prohibit them from aspiring to run for the office of the presidency? I do not think it should, and it's about time we amend the constitution to include all children of American citizens, and maybe include clauses that require them to have lived continuously in America 30 yrs or so prior to running for this office. The constitution holds that a child born by an American citizen is equally a citizen, if I am right. Times have changed and births can happen anywhere. We cannot discriminate against any American simply because his or her mother was not within the territory when he or she slid out of the womb.

    April 15, 2011 at 10:55 pm |
  2. Pat Robertson

    Please just once when President Obama'a middle name is mentioned would someone bring up the fact that our first president George Washington, the father of our country, had the same name as the English ruler in power during the Revolutionary War. King George.

    April 15, 2011 at 10:44 pm |
  3. Jennifer

    Im not an Obama fan but I do think he is a natural born citizen. Having said that, I don't understand why his birth certificate isn't made public and this all put to an end. It makes me wonder when I wouldn't have wondered otherwise. In making this about meeting the qualifications set forth by the constitution and less about Obama, I would think that a candidate would have to publicly verify natural citizenship before officially becoming any party's presidential candidate. Is this not already the case??? If not, I would think it a gross misstep in today's day and age. With terrorism and many radicals being taught to hate America and Americans I think we would be downright stupid not to make sure that ANY candidate fits the requirements.
    When Arnold S. wanted to run for office, I would not have favored it just due to precedent. A presidential candidate who is not natural born citizen should never be allowed or seek an amendment to change the constitution. Any person who seeks an amendment or does not respect the qualifications does not have our country's best future at heart.

    April 15, 2011 at 10:39 pm |
  4. Wendy Arsenault

    AZ state rep. Seel said that Senator McCain included a statement about his birth status on his presidential candidacy papers given to AZ during the campaign, and noted that Pres. Obama did not include such a statement. He used this fact to imply that Obama wasn't a natural-born citizen of the US or he would have also included a statement on his birth status. The reason McCain included the statement is because at the time there was controversy, even among Republicans, over his eligibility because he was born in Panama. There was no such controversy over Obama's status so he had no reason to include a similar statement, which isn't requested on the forms, nor usually volunteered. As he was born in Hawaii U.S.A. to a U.S. citizen there would be no reason to include a statement like that out of the blue.

    April 15, 2011 at 10:36 pm |
  5. David Claunch

    I was born in Arizona, and my birth certificate say at top "Certificate of Live Birth". That is the only birth certificate that was issued by Arizona for my birth. I not sure why Arizona is upset about that fact that Hawaii issue a birth certificate that stated the same thing.

    April 15, 2011 at 10:21 pm |
  6. Sandra McNeil

    Requirement of Hospital and Doctors signiture on birth certificate? Does that mean anyone born in a private home by a midwife is not a legal citzen of the United States of America? Hum, seems another case of paternal control over women's rights.

    April 15, 2011 at 10:18 pm |
  7. Dee

    The People of Arizona should be ashamed of themselves. This is only done because the President is a man of Color. What happened when John McCain was running he was born in Panama. No other President has ever been Questioned.

    Racisim is alive and well and we need to face it and stopping brushing it under the rugs. This stuff is generational I admire the President for enduring all this hatred and manipulation by some people. It does not matter that his Mother was white it is about the color of his skin.

    April 15, 2011 at 8:14 pm |

    I think this Arizona law to prevent candidates from being on the ballot is an attempt to prevent Barack Obama from running and to attmept to reduce his states. This is racist and proves the point that racism is still a live and well. The irony is that you have a person who apparently wasn't born here presenting the ridculous idea and accusing him of social security fraud. What nerve. When is this country going to stop beins so ignorant.

    April 15, 2011 at 7:54 pm |