Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) vetoed a bill April 18 that would have required all presidential candidates to submit proof of U.S. citizenship before their name could be placed on a state election ballot.
“The types of certificates that would have to be agreed upon that would be proof of citizenship was a little bit over the top to say the least,” Brewer told Phoenix ABC affiliate KNXV.
“And then I don’t believe it would have ever passed the muster with the Department of Justice,” she said. Under the Voting Rights Act, a state with a history of discriminatory voting practices must submit election law changes to the Justice Department for clearance.
The bill would have required candidates to submit affidavits certifying citizenship and age, an official birth certificate and a sworn statement detailing where the candidate has lived for the last 14 years.
Since Obama’s first campaign in 2008, the so-called “birther” movement has questioned whether he meets the requirement for a president to be U.S.-born.
Brewer told the Associated Press that enacting the bill would have been a “huge distraction,” deflecting attention from state’s economic recovery. Still, state Rep. Carl Seel (R), the bill’s sponsor, told The Arizona Republic that Brewer’s veto was “unfortunate.”
Brewer’s decision followed a recent trend of Obama critics backing away from the issue of his citizenship. Tea Party member Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), who was once part of the chorus demanding to see Obama’s birth certificate, declared the issue settled.
“That’s what should settle it,” she said after being shown the certificate, available at FactCheck.org, on the April 20 airing of “Good Morning America.” “Well, then that should settle it. I take the president at his word and I think—again I would have no problem and apparently the president wouldn’t either. Introduce that , we’re done. Move on.”
But Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) said that if a similar piece of “birther” legislation makes it to his desk he will sign it.
“It’s not part of our package, but if the Legislature passes it we’ll sign it,” press secretary Kyle Plotkin told The New Orleans Times Picayune.