Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (Charles Dharapak)

Arizona OKs Birther bill

For the first time, a state has passed legislation requiring presidential candidates to produce a birth certificate


Justin Elliott
April 15, 2011 5:21PM (UTC)

Marking a new stage of maturity for the Birther movement, Arizona has become the first state to pass a bill requiring presidential candidates to produce a birth certificate to qualify for the ballot.

The bill, which you can read here (.pdf), passed the state house 40-16 last night and now goes to the desk of Gov. Jan Brewer.

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If it is signed into law, it's not clear whether the bill would apply to Obama and the 2012 race. Its sponsor insists that the bill does not target Obama, though it clearly does. The bill says that candidates must produce a "long form birth certificate" or a combination of other documents (a "circumcision certificate" is listed) in order to be put on the ballot in Arizona.

Here's the section describing the qualifications:

Within ten days after submittal of the names of the candidates, the national political party committee shall submit an affidavit of the presidential candidate in which the presidential candidate states the candidate's citizenship and age and shall append to the affidavit 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 as prescribed in Article ii, Section 1, Constitution of the United States. The affidavit prescribed in subsection a shall include references to and attachment of all of the following, which shall be sworn to under penalty of perjury:

1. A certified copy of the presidential candidate's long form birth certificate that includes at least the date and place of birth, the names of the hospital and the attending physician, if applicable, and signatures of any witnesses in attendance. If the candidate does not possess a long form birth certificate as required by this paragraph, the candidate may attach two or more of the following documents that shall take the place of the long form birth certificate if the candidate swears to their authenticity and validity and the documents contain enough information for the secretary of state to determine if the candidate meets the requirements prescribed in Article ii, Section 1, Constitution of the United States:

(a) early baptismal or circumcision certificate.

(b) hospital birth record.

(c) postpartum medical record for the mother or child signed by the doctor or midwife or the person who delivered or examined the child after birth.

(d) early census record.

The sponsor of the bill, Rep. Carl Seel, who recently met with Donald Trump, said on its passage that ""This bill is about the integrity of our elections." At least one Democratic legislator, though, has argued the bill might not pass muster in the courts.


Justin Elliott

Justin Elliott is a reporter for ProPublica. You can follow him on Twitter @ElliottJustin

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