Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed a bill late Monday that would have required President Barack Obama and other presidential candidates to prove they were American citizens, born in the United States, before their names could have been placed on the state ballot.
The so-called "birther bill" got final approval in the state House last week. Now that Brewer, a Republican, has vetoed it, the bill will not become law unless legislators vote to override her veto.
"As a former Secretary of State, I do not support designating one person as a gatekeeper to the ballot for a candidate, which could lead to arbitrary or politically-motivated decisions," the governor wrote in a letter addressed to the Arizona House speaker.
Under the measure, if there were any dispute about whether a candidate had proved he or she had been born in the United States, Arizona's secretary of state would have the final say.
"This measure creates significant new problems while failing to do anything constructive for Arizona," she added.
Obama has been hounded by allegations since he began running for president in 2008 that he was not born in America. Critics contend, among other things, that he was born in his father's home country of Kenya. The U.S. Constitution stipulates that only "natural born" citizens are eligible to be president.
Obama has insisted that he was born in Hawaii, and the allegations against him have been repeatedly discredited in investigations by CNN and other organizations. Nevertheless, the issue remains politically potent among segments of the electorate and has served as a rallying cry for many of the president's opponents, most recently potential GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump.