The Arizona House has sent a bill to the state Senate that would require presidential candidates to present documents proving their qualifications to run for the highest office in the land.
Without submitting such proof, the candidate’s name would not be permitted to appear on the state’s ballots; additionally the secretary of state could stop a candidate’s name from appearing on the ballot if he has “reasonable cause” to believe the candidate is ineligible to run for president.
The vote on the bill was 31-29; all of the House Democrats and four Republicans were in the minority.
The bill is a direct response to the so-called Birther Movement, which contends that President Barack Obama was born in a foreign country, namely Kenya, the birthplace of his father.
The Birthers continue to insist that Obama is not a “natural born citizen” and therefore not eligible to be president based on one of the requirements laid out by the United States Constitution.
The belief continues despite the production of a copy of Obama’s birth certificate from Hawai’i (confirmed as accurate by Hawai’i’s health director) and two Augut 1961 birth notices from Honolulu newspapers. Moreover, courts have dismissed several lawsuits challenging Obama’s eligibility to be president based on Birther claims.
Still, 21% of a recent NY Times/CBS poll said they think Obama was born in a foreign country, and proponents of the Arizona bill such as Rep. Cecil Ash, R-Mesa believe such a measure is necessary and useful “to remove this as any type of issue in the future.”
But remember this was a very close vote, so obviously not all of Arizona’s House feels the same. In fact, Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Phoenix had some strong words to describe her position on the bill: “I am ashamed that this is even a topic of discussion,” she is quoted as saying by Fox News.
What do you think of this bill? Is it necessary or otherwise a good idea?