OK Senate Bill 1466 | NNA

OK Senate Bill 1466

Notary Law Update: OK Senate Bill 1466

State: Oklahoma

Summary:

Senate Bill 1466 requires a Notary to keep a record of all absentee ballot affidavits that he or she notarizes for at least two years after an election and provides that a Notary may not notarize more than twenty absentee ballot affidavits without written approval of the county election board secretary. The bill also prohibits Notaries Public from requesting or submitting absentee ballots on behalf of another voter, assisting another voter who is not a member of his or her household in requesting absentee ballots or receiving an absentee ballot on behalf of such a person. 

Signed:  September 23, 2012

Effective:  August 23, 2012

Chapter: 26

Affects:

Adds new Section 14-108.1 of the Oklahoma Statutes

Changes:
  1. Requires a Notary to maintain a log of all absentee ballot affidavits that he or she notarizes for a period of at least two years after the date of the election.
  2. Limits a Notary to notarize a maximum of twenty absentee ballot affidavits for a single election.
  3. Permits a Notary to be authorized to notarize more than twenty absentee ballot affidavits with the written approval of the secretary of the county election board.
  4. Prohibits a Notary or agent acting on behalf of a Notary from: (a) requesting absentee ballots on behalf of a voter other than himself or herself; (b) assisting a voter in requesting absentee ballots, other than for himself or herself or a member of his or her household; (c) receiving by mail an absentee ballot on behalf of a voter, other than for himself or herself or a member of his or her household; and (d) submitting a completed absentee ballot on behalf of a voter other than for himself or herself.
Analysis:

Senate Bill 1466 institutes reforms for how absentee ballot affidavits are handled and notarized. Oklahoma is one of a very few states where Notaries still serve an official role in the casting of absentee ballots. A person who votes by absentee ballot must have his or her signature notarized on an affidavit that is part of the ballot. SB 1466 was introduced to curb voter fraud in at least one district in Oklahoma. During the floor debate in the House of Representatives, the House sponsor cited one case in which 492 absentee ballots were sent to the same address and notarized by the same Notary Public. All 492 ballots were found to have supported the same candidate. Under the bill, no more than ten absentee ballots may be mailed to a single address. Nursing homes, apartments, veterans homes and other specifically cited establishments with a large number of residents are exempted. A Notary is allowed to notarize only twenty absentee ballot affidavits in a single election unless the Notary has written approval of the secretary of the county election board, and is prohibited from requesting or assisting a voter in requesting absentee ballots, receiving absentee ballots by mail for any person, or submitting completed absentee ballots on behalf of another voter unless the voter is a member of the Notary’s household. It is noteworthy that the bill specifically requires Notaries to keep a record of all absentee ballot affidavits they are allowed to notarize for a period of two years. Having written records of such notarizations would assist future investigations into voter fraud. In 2001, Oklahoma repealed its statute requiring Notaries to keep a “fair record” of their official acts. Now, with the enactment of SB 1466, Notaries will be required to keep a record of at least one type of notarization. The statute does not provide any guidance for the specific information recorded in the log. The NNA’s professional standards of practice for Notary journal-keeping provide this missing guidance. Although SB 1466 contains what we would call a limited journal requirement, it at least opens the door for consideration of a broader journal bill in a future legislative session.

Read the bill text.

Knowledge Center