Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett has asked governmentofficials in Hawaii to verify that Barack Obama was born in theisland state for the president's name to appear on the Nov. 6ballot. Bennett, who is exploring a 2014 gubernatorial run, told The Republic on Friday that he made the request on behalf of a constituent whowas unable to make the request himself. Bennett said Hawaii statuteprovides for out-of-state government officials to request suchinformation, but prohibits residents from obtaining it. Bennett asked that Hawaii officials provide "verification" ofObama's birth in lieu of a certified copy of the president's birthcertificate. |
Bennett, a Republican, said he could not recall the name of theconstituent who made the request, but the question of Obama's birthappears to stem from questions about the president's citizenship.Hawaiian officials have repeatedly confirmed Obama's birth in theirstate but some continue to believe he was born in Kenya, hisfather's homeland. Bennett said he made the request about eight weeks ago andcommunicated with Hawaii officials as early as four weeks ago. Assecretary of state, Bennett oversees elections. He said he issimply attempting to affirm that the president's name can appear onthe November ballot.
"I was just trying to put this thing to bed and agree to aconstituent's request, which I'm allowed to do," Bennett saidFriday morning. "This is a constituent from Arizona, whom I workfor. I am the chief elections official, and I am responsible forelections, and I make the list that these people qualify for theballot." Bennett said his request for verification of Obama's birth is notconnected to his anticipated run for governor. Bennett iscollecting electronic signatures to run for the state's highestelected position.
"I know some blogs have said that this is pandering to the'birthers.' But the two have nothing to do with each other," hesaid, referring to a gubernatorial bid. In March, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio announced that asix-month investigation by volunteers had found significantirregularities with Obama's birth certificate and his SelectiveService card. A short time later, state lawmakers failed in anattempt to pass a law requiring presidential candidates to sign anaffidavit swearing they meet the federal requirements for the jobbefore they can qualify to on be the state's ballot. Last year, as Arizona lawmakers were readying their second attemptat a "birther" bill, Bennett said it would be best if the federalgovernment handled the job of assuring the eligibility ofpresidential candidates.
"But it seems to be obvious that they must not have a processsufficiently implemented at the federal level or we wouldn't stillbe having questions about the president's birth status," Bennetttold The Associated Press in January 2011. He added he personally believes Obama was born inHawaii. Republican Gov. Jan Brewer, has said she believes Obama was born inthe United States. Bennett said he will likely cancel a scheduled 4 p.m.
newsconference because he is traveling in southern Arizona.
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