As election season approaches, you may be asked to notarize petitions. It is easy to make a mistake when notarizing a petition. We want to help you perform your notary duties with confidence.
Don’t notarize a petition you have signed as an elector or if you are the candidate filing it.
Do read the instructions on the petition and related materials. The Department of State provides information and links to forms and instructions on their website, including deadlines for filing. Be sure to read and follow the instructions so you can avoid problems at the last minute when the petitions must be filed. The circulator(s) and the candidate have responsibilities in this process that must be fulfilled.
Don’t notarize a petition for a family member. If notarization is required, have an impartial third-party act as the notary. If you are related to the candidate you should decline to notarize their petitions, because your relation to the candidate raises the possibility of a direct or pecuniary interest.
Do draw lines through any unused signature lines that are left on the petition. This prevents signatures from being added to the petition after the notarization.
Don’t notarize for an individual you have not properly identified. Make sure the proper notarial wording is on the petition. You must follow the law for every notarization you perform
Do refer questions to your county election officials or to the Department of State. As a notary, you cannot give legal advice.