Arizona’s Top Election Official Goes Birther, Threatens To Keep Obama Off The Ballot

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"Arizona’s Top Election Official Goes Birther, Threatens To Keep Obama Off The Ballot"

Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett (R)

Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett — the state’s top election official — made an appearance on a local radio show yesterday in which he threatened to keep President Obama’s name off of the state’s November ballot unless the state of Hawaii provides his official birth certificate.

Bennett is the latest Republican elected official to call into question Obama’s place of birth in recent months. His comments were first flagged by the site White House Dossier:

BENNETT: First of all, I’m not playing to the birthers, I’m not a birther. I believe that the president was born in Hawaii, or at least I hope he was…Hawaii has a special provision in their law that allows other government officials from other states to request what’s called a verification in lieu of a certified copy of a birth certificate. So I’m not asking for the certified copy of the birth certificate at all…I was frankly expecting that they would very quickly and very simply say ‘yes.’ Eight weeks later, they haven’t said, I can’t seem to get them to say yes.

In fact, Hawaii said “yes” over a year ago. Last April, Obama released a certified copy of his long form birth certificate to the public. And while that did nothing to quell the furor of birthers like Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, it more than meets Bennett’s verification requirement.

And yet Bennett is insisting on still more costly and time-consuming work by the state of Hawaii to verify they have the original document on hand. The reason for his suspicion? Arpaio’s sham investigation into the copy released by President Obama raised sufficient questions:

BENNETT: When Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s posse released a press conference a few week ago, or a month ago or whenever it was, that the birth certificate posted on the White House website might be fraudulent, I started getting, as you might imagine, literally over 1,200 emails from people saying ‘well that’s proof, you should require the president to produce the original of his birth certificate in order to be on the ballot of Arizona.’

Arpaio’s press conference more closely resembled an SNL parody than a serious investigation, and it was widely ridiculed for employing faulty “science” and drawing wild conclusions based on little more than technological anomalies.

Bennett is hardly the first person to propose removing Obama from the general election ballot this fall, but as secretary of state, he is in a position to actually act on those threats. Bennett’s insistence that he is not a birther and is simply doing his due diligence as the state’s top election official is a distinction without difference, as it ignores the fact that he is accepting as possibility that Obama’s publicly available birth certificate is fraudulent.

Update

In addition to his duties as the Secretary of State, Ken Bennett is also serving as the Arizona co-chair for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, even after it was revealed that Bennett subscribes to birtherism. While Mitt Romney has himself stayed far away from questioning the legitimacy of Obama’s presidency, his campaign is now linked directly to a prominent birther. In the days since Bennett appeared on the radio, Hawaiian officials have stepped forward to demand proof from Bennett that he has the legal standing to ask the state for proof of President Obama’s birth in Hawaii.

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