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Arizona Eligibility Bill Passes State Senate, Moves Back to House

Via big hat-tip from GiveUsLiberty:

Arizona’s HB2177 — “presidential candidates; qualifications; affidavit” — otherwise known as the presidential eligibility bill — passed the State Senate today by a vote of 20 – 9 with 1 Member not voting.

Here is the overview of HB2177 as well as the actual votes cast today.

Here is a summary of the bill (updated since passed by Senate); the entire summary is below:

ARIZONA STATE SENATE

Fiftieth Legislature, First Regular Session

AMENDED

FACT SHEET FOR H.B. 2177

schools; 180 days; conforming changes

(NOW: presidential candidates; qualifications; affidavit)

Purpose

Requires a presidential candidate that is for running for office to prove their eligibility to run and hold office by providing documentation that proves citizenship, age and if the candidate meets residency requirements.

Background

Article II, Section I of the Constitution of the United States, states that no person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that office who shall not have attained to the age of thirty-five years, and been fourteen years a resident within the United States.

Section 16-226 of Arizona Revised Statute defines nonpartisan elections as an election that is held by a special district and that is not held concurrently with the general election.

At a primary election, each political party entitled and intending to make nominations for the ensuing general or special election is required to, if it desires to have the names of its candidates printed on the official ballot at the general or special election, nominate its candidates for all elective, senatorial, congressional, state, judicial, county and precinct offices to be filled at the election (A.R.S. § 16-301). A nomination petition as defined in section 16-314 means the form or forms used for obtaining the required number of signatures of qualified electors, which is circulated by or on behalf of the person wishing to become a candidate for a political office.

There is no anticipated fiscal impact to the state General Fund associated with this legislation.

Provisions

1.      Requires any person submitting a nomination paper for the purposes of being a candidate in a primary or nonpartisan election to include in the affidavit, reference to and attachment of all documents necessary to show that the person will be qualified at the time of the election to hold the office the person seeks.

2.      Prohibits the filing officer to accept the nomination paper of a candidate if the person does not provide the affidavit and attachments required in this for proving eligibility to hold office.

3.      Requires a national political party committee for a presidential candidate for a party that is entitled to continued representation on the ballot to provide to the Secretary of State, written notice of that political party’s nomination of its candidates for president and vice-president.

4.      Requires a national political party committee to submit an affidavit of the presidential candidate in which the presidential candidate states the candidate’s citizenship and age and is required to attach this affidavit to the affidavit documents that prove the candidate’s age, citizenship and if the candidate has been a U.S. resident for fourteen years.

5.      Requires the affidavit of the presidential candidate include references to and attachment of the following, which shall be sworn to under penalty of perjury:

a)      a sworn statement or form that identifies the presidential candidate’s places of residence in the U.S. for the preceding fourteen years; and

b)      a certified birth certificate that includes:

i.      the date and place of birth,

ii.      the names of the hospital and the attending physician, and

iii.      signatures of any witnesses in attendance if applicable.

6.      Clarifies that if a presidential candidate does not possess a long form birth certificate the candidate is required to provide two or more of the following:

a)      an early baptismal or circumcision certificate,

b)      hospital birth record,

c)      postpartum medical record, and

d)     early census record.

7.      States that the presidential candidate may also submit a notarized affidavit from two or more persons who witnessed the candidates birth in addition to the documents required to be submitted when a candidate does not possess a long form birth certificate.

8.      States that if the Secretary of State (SOS) cannot determine if the candidate meets eligibility requirements from the documents submitted in place of the long form birth certificate, the SOS may establish a committee to assist in determining the validity of any documents submitted by the presidential candidate in place of a long form birth certificate.

9.      Prohibits the SOS from placing a presidential candidate’s name on the ballot in this state if the candidate or the national political party committee fails to submit and swear to the documents listed in this section.

10.  Prohibits the SOS from placing a presidential candidate’s name on the ballot in this state if the SOS believes that the proof of the documents submitted and sworn to do not meet the citizenship, age and residency requirements.

11.  Permits a member of the House of Representatives, a member of the Senate or any other citizen of this state to initiate an action to enforce this section.

12.  Makes conforming changes.

13.  Contains a severability clause.

14.  Becomes effective on the general effective date.

Amendments Adopted by Committee

1.      Removes parental requirements needed to run for or hold office or to be put on the ballot.

2.      Adopted strike everything amendment.

Amendments Adopted by Committee of the Whole

1.      Adds a list of documents that can be submitted if the presidential candidate does not have a birth certificate.

2.      Permits the SOS to establish a committee for determining the validity of the documents submitted in place of a birth certificate.

3.      Adds a severability clause.

Senate Action

GR           3/23/2011      DPA/SE       5-1-1-0

3rd Read   4/13/2011                            20-9-1-0

Prepared by Senate Research

April 13, 2011
BB/ED/ly

A number of key things to be gleaned from the above:

  1. The State Legislature specifically gives the State’s Secretary of State wide-ranging authority in not only determining what background documentation should be used to substantiate a candidate’s background, but even determining the efficacy of said documentation;
  2. The Constitution allows for States to enforce the law — such as presidential eligibility — so the expected lawsuits that will inevitably spring up over this bill won’t have too much to stand on (especially considering another point, below);
  3. The legislation becomes effective on the “general effective date,” which, according to this AZ page, could be construed to mean when that particular session has completed business (in other words, legislation passed during that session becomes effective at that point);
  4. If you are a citizen of the great State of Arizona, you will specifically have standing in terms of being able to enforce this legislation. This, of course, is a pretty big deal, and could, in theory, lead to a class-action status of a multitude of citizens standing up against a given candidate if they do not feel that candidate’s background is sufficiently substantial;
  5. The legislation has a severability clause, in which it states that if one section of this law is found to be invalid, that does not mean that the entire law for the purposes of eligibility would be found to be invalid. This is an important point when defending against detractors who might wish for the entire bill to be defeated.

The bill now moves on to the State House for their consideration. This will be the bill’s second visit to the House after the Senate made a number of amendments to the bill. Assuming that the House approves, Governor Brewer would then be sent the bill to be signed or vetoed.

-Phil

twitter.com/trsol

phil [at] therightsideoflife [dot] com

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