Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
Secretary of State Ken Bennett is not good at his job. Anyone who has tried to use the candidate committee filings online to keep track of who is running for office knows that Bennett has completely failed to present this information in any usable manner accessible to the public -- the reason why it is posted online. Bennett is also slow to update bills that have been signed into law and to post them online.
Then there was his completely WRONG legal opinion in the Rep. Daniel Patterson matter in which LD 29 voters disenfranchised by Secretary of State Ken Bennett (Updated).
Earlier this week it was reported by the Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required) that Bennett created the online signature-gathering system "E-Qual" largely to benefit himself in his run for governor in 2014. Ken Bennett collecting signatures for potential gubernatorial run | Arizona Capitol Times:
Secretary of State Ken Bennett, who helped pioneer the state’s online signature-gathering system for political candidates, has started using the system for his potential gubernatorial race two years away.
Bennett, a former Senate president, has an exploratory committee for governor, which means he can legally collect money and gather signatures to measure the viability of a gubernatorial run. [This is the "Huppenthal Loophole" that eviscerated Arizona's resign-to-run law.]
“Yeah, I guess, you know, this puts me one step closer,” Bennett said today of his online signature-gathering efforts.
Nothing unseemly about using his office to benefit himself, nosiree. Nothing unethical to see here, move along.
But Secretary of State Ken Bennett really outdid himself at the end of this week when he went full "Birther," proving that he is unfit for his job. Arizona Secretary Of State Says It’s ‘Possible’ Obama Won’t Be On Ballot | TPMMuckraker:
The man in charge of running Arizona’s elections has gone to the birthers. Secretary of State Ken Bennett now says he’s not convinced Barack Obama was really born in the United States and so he is threatening to keep the president off the ballot in November.
Bennett’s comments came in an interview late Thursday with conservative radio talk show host Mike Broomhead on Phoenix station KFYI.
Bennett said he was following the lead of the state’s eccentric Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a fellow Republican who ordered an investigation into the president’s birth certificate last year and concluded the document released by the White House is a forgery. Bennett said he is now trying to get verification from state officials in Hawaii that the certificate is authentic.
In doing so, Bennett caved to a fringe group of activists and writers who believe in a conspiracy theory that just never seems to die no matter how much proof they get. Hawaiian officials have said time and again that Obama was born there in 1961, yet the theory persists.
Bennett, the state’s No. 2 elected official just below Gov. Jan Brewer (R), said his investigation isn’t personal. He said the reason he started looking into it is because he got more than 1,200 emails asking him to do so after Arpaio’s investigation came out.
“I’m not a birther. I believe the president was born in Hawaii — or at least I hope he was,” Bennett said on the show. “But my responsibility as secretary of state is to make sure 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’s newfound birtherism also breaks with Brewer, who led the secretary of state’s office in 2008 when Obama last appeared on the Arizona ballot. Brewer said last year that despite her disagreements with Obama, she is fully convinced the president is eligible for office and believes the birth certificate issue is a “huge distraction.”
“It’s just something I believe is leading our country down a path of destruction and it just is not serving any good purpose,” she told CNN’s John King.
* * *
On Thursday, Bennett said he sent his request to Hawaii officials eight weeks ago but has yet to get the proof he was hoping for. He said he didn’t want another copy of the birth certificate. He wants Hawaii to give him what he described as “a verification in lieu of a certified copy of a birth certificate.”
* * *
Broomhead, the radio host, pressed Bennett on what he would do if he didn’t get the right response back from Hawaii.
“If they won’t comply, if they refuse to comply with this, will you remove the president from the ballot?” Broomhead asked. “Will you exclude him from the ballot?”
“That’s possible,” Bennett said. “Or the other option would be I would ask all of candidates, including the president, maybe to submit a certified copy of their birth certificate. But I don’t want to do that.”
UPDATE: A.R.S.16-311. Nomination papers; filing;definitions requires only an affidavit:
D. All persons desiring to become a candidate shall file with the nomination paper provided for in subsection A an affidavit which shall be printed in a form prescribed by the secretary of state. The affidavit shall include facts sufficient to show that, other than the residency requirement provided in subsection A, the candidate will be qualified at the time of election to hold the office the person seeks.
The "Birther bill" advanced by Rep. Carl "barking mad" Seel in this past session, a proposed "strike everything amendment" to HB 2480 to amend A.R.S. Sec. 16-311 (D), died without a final vote before sine die. The Birther bill is baaack and Birther Madness.
Secretary Bennett is taking it upon himself to do what the legislature failed to enact into law. That is an abuse of the power of his office. And he is doing it to pander to the Birthers-Birchers-Secessionists of the Tea Party in his run for governor two years from now!
Listen to the whole interview from KFYI:
UPDATE: Press release from the Arizona Democratic Party:
Statement from Arizona Democratic Executive Director
Citing Conspiracy Theories, Bennett Threatens to Keep President Obama Off Ballot
May 18, 2012
PHOENIX, AZ--Luis Heredia, Executive Director of the Arizona Democratic Party, issued the following statement:
"Tea Party Republicans are at it again. This time it's not Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, but Secretary of State Ken Bennett who has taken up the cause of conspiracy theorists. By catering to right-wing extremists, Bennett is trying to score cheap political points while sacrificing common sense. In fact, by also serving as the state's Mitt Romney campaign co-chair, Bennett has clearly crossed ethical boundaries since he has a personal stake in keeping President Obama off the ballot. Arizona deserves better. It is time to move our state forward."
The attorney general's office in Hawaii is telling Arizona's secretary of state that if he wants confirmation of President Barack Obama's birth records, he'll have to prove he legitimately needs it.
Special Assistant Joshua Wisch said late Friday that Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett hasn't done that despite numerous email and phone exchanges between their offices.
Wisch says Hawaii state laws require Bennett to show legal authority that this office needs the records to update its official lists as part of its ordinary work.
Wisch says as soon as Bennett gives Hawaii adequate authority, the Aloha State will verify Obama's birth.
Ken Bennett cannot comply with Hawaii law because his office does NOT need the record to update its official lists as part of its ordinary work -- only an affidavit from the candidate is required under Arizona law. He is incompetent at his job.
Hawaii Department of Health page on Obama's birth: http://hawaii.gov/health/vital-records/obama.html