Ga. bill would require citizenship proof

March 2, 2011 at 1:53 PM
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ATLANTA, March 2 (UPI) -- A bill in the Georgia Legislature would require presidential and vice presidential candidates to prove eligibility before being included on the Georgia ballot.

The "Presidential Eligibility Assurance Act" would require presidential and vice presidential candidates must provide "adequate evidence" of their eligibility to the Georgia Secretary of State's office before they can be included on the state's ballot, the bills' summary said.

The bill is sponsored by Republican Rep. Mark Hatfield.

"I think the issue with our sitting president has been left unresolved for a significant length of time that people have concerns," Hatfield told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in an article published Tuesday. "But this is not just about our current president. It's about enforcing the constitutional provisions for anyone who seeks the office of presidency."

The measure is different from a bill Hatfield introduced last year that would have required presidential candidates in Georgia to file an affidavit swearing they were natural-born U.S. citizens.

Both measures are inspired by the so-called birther movement that believes President Obama was not born in the United States. The claim was disproved when Hawaii released records of Obama's birth although so-called "birthers" reject the documentation.

Hatfield said he wasn't a birther but a Constitutionalist, adding he thinks evidence of Obama's birth never has been made public, the Journal-Constitution said.

"We've seen a computer-generated summary of a live birth but not the particulars of his birth on a long form," Hatfield said. "Congress has never created an enforcement mechanism, so it is up to the states to step up and fill the gap."

The bill said eligibility requirements means natural-born citizenship, age and residency requirements as prescribed in the U.S. Constitution. "Evidence of eligibility" means an affidavit by a candidate stating the eligibility requirements were met and the affidavit must include "a certified exact copy of the candidate's first original long-form birth certificate."

If the candidate says the original, long-form birth certificate is lost, "the candidate shall attach certified exact copies of other original documentation, including, but not limited to, the candidate's birth records, adoption records, baptism records, Social Security records, medical records, school and college records, military records, and passport records showing, either individually or collectively, that the candidate meets" eligibility requirements listed in the U.S. Constitution.

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