Published April 22, 2010
PHOENIX -- The Arizona House approved a bill Wednesday that would require presidential candidates to show his or her birth certificate in order to be on the state's ballot.
The House approved the measure on a 31-29 vote after four Republicans joined all of the Democrats in opposing it. The measure still faces a Senate vote.
It would require U.S. presidential candidates who want to appear on the Arizona ballot to submit documents proving they meet the constitutional requirements to be president.
So-called "birthers" have contended since the 2008 presidential campaign that President Obama was born abroad, even after his official Hawaii birth certificate was made public along with birth notices that two Honolulu newspapers published in August 1961.
The Constitution says a person must be a "natural-born citizen" to be eligible for the presidency. Skeptics suggest Obama's Hawaiian birth certificate is fake and say he was actually born in Kenya, his father's homeland.
Supporters of the Arizona measure say it would help settle the controversy.
"I support this measure in order to remove this as any type of issue in the future," said Rep. Cecil Ash, R-Mesa.
Opponents say it's a waste of time that makes Arizona mocked by the rest of the country.
"I am ashamed that this is even a topic of discussion," said Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Phoenix.
The measure would require the secretary of state to review candidates' documents and withhold a candidate from the ballot if he has "reasonable cause" to believe ineligibility.
Courts have rebuffed lawsuits challenging Obama's eligibility to be president, but the issue hasn't gone away.