PHOENIX - Gov. Jan Brewer hinted Friday she might veto legislation designed to give the Arizona secretary of state the final say of who gets to run for president here.
Brewer said she is still reviewing the measure, given final approval late Thursday, which spells out what documents have to be presented by political parties to get their candidate on the ballot. It requires the secretary of state, as chief elections officer, to deny ballot status to those who do not submit the required paperwork.
Backers, led by Rep. Carl Seel, R-Phoenix, say they are just trying to protect the integrity of the electoral process. But Brewer, who was secretary of state for six years before becoming governor, said the wishes of the state legislators who support the measure may be irrelevant.
"I think my big concern probably, just shooting a little bit from the hip, is the fact that I don't know if we regulate federal elections," she said.
Seel conceded his bill is doing something no other state has tried, and that past court rulings raise questions about its legitimacy.
"But we'll let the courts decide that," said Seel, who believes states have inherent authority "to enforce election law and determine the validity of a candidate on the ballot."
He said the bill, which will reach Brewer next week, is not an attack on the 2012 candidacy of incumbent Barack Obama. The legislation requires candidates for all offices to attach "documents necessary to show that the person will be qualified at the time of the election to hold the office the person seeks."
But he acknowledged he has "a lot of misgivings" about whether the president is a "natural born citizen." And it is only presidential candidates who would have to provide a "long form birth certificate" or two other documents from a list of options.
Secretary of State Ken Bennett is not going to second-guess the Legislature, spokesman Matt Roberts said. "He's going to carry out the spirit and the word of the law."
But Roberts said Bennett knows the issue will wind up in court before it gets to him.
The White House would not comment on the legislation.
The law calls for presidential candidates to provide a birth certificate that includes at least the date and place of birth, the names of the hospital and attending physician if those are applicable, and the signatures of any witnesses present.
If none is available, candidates can provide two other documents, from a list which includes a baptismal or circumcision certificate, a hospital birth record, postpartum medical records for the mother or child signed by the doctor, midwife or person who delivered or examined the child after birth, or an early census record.
The law also gives the secretary of state authority to decide, unilaterally, that even with the documents submitted, the presidential candidate is not qualified based on the "preponderance of the evidence."
Lisa Hauser, considered one of the top election experts in Arizona, said the mandate for production of documents might be beyond the power of the state.
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