Bills requiring political candidates to prove they are U.S. citizens have cropped up in more than a dozen legislatures, and Oklahoma could be the first state to demand proof of citizenship for all elective offices, The New York Times reports
. Sponsors of so-called “birther” bills say they are not trying to gratify voters who refuse to believe President Barack Obama was born in the United States.
“It’s not a birther bill, it’s a common-sense bill,” said Oklahoma State Sen. Rick Brinkley.
|Gov. Mary Fallin
“If you’re going to file for office, you should be willing to substantiate that you meet the qualifications,” Brinkley added.
Even some Democrats voted for the measure in the Oklahoma Senate. It is expected to pass the state’s House next week, and lawmakers believe Republican Gov. Mary Fallin will sign it.
Similar bills elsewhere are still being debated.
In other states, they have either died in committee or fallen on floor votes. In Arizona, a Republican governor vetoed the measure.
Proof-of-citizenship supporters say they’re watching Oklahoma closely.
“If one state passes, and the Obama administration basically ignores the requirement and does not qualify for the ballot in that state, that would send a very strong signal that we have a situation in the United States where someone who is not eligible is occupying the White House,” said Mark Hatfield, a Republican state representative from Georgia.
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