Despite claiming he does not believe in the birther conspiracy theory, Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett has threatened to keep Obama off the state’s general election ballot if he can’t verify the president was born in Hawaii.

“I’m not a birther. I believe the president was born in Hawaii — or at least I hope he was,” Bennett told KFYI radio host Mike Broomhead on Thursday. “But 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 for the office they are seeking.”

Bennett, who is preparing to run for Arizona governor in 2014, claimed the move is not meant to appease birthers in the state ahead of that election.

Bennett said he has petitioned the state to verify the existence of Obama’s long-form birth certificate, and that his request has gone unanswered for eight weeks. The White House released Obama’s long-form birth certificate last year. Still, that doesn’t seem to have satisfied the legion of conspiracy theorists who continue to believe the president was born elsewhere. –TEB

The Huffington Post:

Bennett’s move is just the latest birther bustle in Arizona, which has been a hotbed for Obama eligibility conspiracy theories over the past few years. Clamor over a bill meant to address the issue was temporarily silenced last year when Gov. Jan Brewer (R) vetoed the measure, calling it “a bridge too far.”

Birthers returned with a vengeance this year, however, first emerging with an “investigation” carried out by Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who had determined that there was reasonable cause to believe that Obama’s birth certificate was a forgery.

In the subsequent legislative session, a state GOP lawmaker reintroduced her failed birther bill.

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