Birther controversy: ‘Obama might not make ballot`

Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett said during a radio interview that he is “not playing to the birthers”.

Updated: May 20, 2012, 11:09 AM IST

Washington: In a revival of the controversy surrounding US President Barack Obama’s birth certificate, Arizona’s top election official has said it is “possible” Obama may not make the state’s November ballot due to unanswered questions about his birth place.

Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett, a Republican who is exploring a 2014 race for governor, said during a radio interview that he is “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,” The Washington Post quoted Bennett, as saying.

“My responsibility as secretary of state is to make sure that the ballots in Arizona are correct and that those people whose names are on the ballot have met the qualifications of the office they are seeking,” he added.

According to a Phoenix New Times report, Bennett told American website WorldNetDaily that “if Hawaii can’t or won’t provide verification of the President’s birth certificate, I will not put his name on the ballot.”

The Obama campaign had criticised Bennett’s request for birth verification as another example of how the President’s presumptive Republican rival, Mitt Romney, “has pandered to the far-right of his party”.

Obama, saying he was frustrated with “this silliness”, publicly released the long form of his birth certificate over a year ago.