By JACQUES BILLEAUD, Associated Press
PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona’s secretary of state said Wednesday that Hawaii’s official
verification of President Barack Obama’s birth records meets necessary requirements, meaning the president’s name will appear on Arizona’s ballot in the fall.
The inquiry launched recently by Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett gave official weight to a long-simmering political controversy generated by those who say that Obama was not born in the U.S. and therefore is ineligible to hold the nation’s highest office.
The Obama administration attempted a year ago to dismiss the conflict by releasing his long-form birth certificate showing that he was born in Hawaii.
But skeptics maintained their stance and eventually Bennett announced he would seek further verification at the request of numerous voters who contacted his office, even saying he was prepared to leave Obama’s name off the state’s ballot in November.
Bennett, a Republican, said in a written statement that Hawaii officials “have complied with the request, and I consider the matter closed.”
Bennett’s office says Obama’s name will appear on Arizona’s November ballot as long as he wins his party’s nomination and all paperwork is properly completed.
Obama campaign spokesman Mahen Gunaratna noted that Bennett also is Arizona campaign co-chair for Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney. Gunaratna said Bennett’s inquiry will have no bearing on the election, “But it does present an opportunity for Mitt Romney to finally rise to the occasion and denounce the extreme voices in his party.”
The Romney campaign responded saying the candidate has made his stance on the issue clear.
“I think the citizenship test has been passed,” Romney said to CNBC in April, a statement relayed to The Associated Press by his campaign on Wednesday. “I believe the president was born in the United States. And there are real reasons to get this guy out of office.”