CA Assembly Bill 18 | NNA
Law

CA Assembly Bill 18

Notary Law Update: CA Assembly Bill 18

State: California

Summary:

Assembly Bill 18 permits the use of a facsimile signature stamp by persons with a physical disability or by persons on behalf of a person with a disability for any purpose related to the Elections Code, including a sworn statement. While this new law is designed to facilitate the casting of ballots by persons who cannot sign their name with a handwritten signature, Notaries could be asked to notarize a facsimile stamped signature on a nomination petition, declaration of candidacy or circulator’s affidavit.

Signed:  October 11, 2007

Effective:  January 01, 2007

Chapter: 485

Affects:

Amends Section 354.5 of the California Elections Code

Changes:
  1. Defines a “signature stamp” as a stamp that contains the actual signature of a person with a disability, a mark or symbol that is adopted by the person with a disability as a signature or a signature of the name of the person with a disability that is made by another person and is adopted by the person with a disability.
  2. Defines an “authorized user” of a signature stamp as a person with a disability that prevents the person from writing and who owns a signature stamp, or a person who uses the signature stamp on behalf of and with the owner’s express consent in the owner’s presence.
  3. Directs that a signature stamp as authorized in Elections Code Section 354.5 shall be treated in the same manner as a handwritten signature.
  4. Prescribes that a signature stamp may serve as a signature in writing for any purpose specified under the Elections Code, including a sworn statement.
  5. Prescribes the conditions for using a signature stamp for absentee ballots and to obtain a ballot in any local, state or federal election after an affidavit of registration is submitted with the signature stamp used as a signature. (Note: these conditions do not affect the practice of Notaries.)
Analysis:

Assembly Bill 18 permits any person with a physical disability that prevents the person from signing with a handwritten signature to use a signature stamp. Assembly Bill 18 also allows a person to affix the signature stamp of a disabled person on behalf of and with the person’s express consent if the imprint of the stamp is affixed in the presence of the disabled person. While the signature stamp is intended to be used primarily in casting votes in person at a polling place — where a registered voter must sign the voter registry prior to obtaining a ballot — or by absentee ballot, the new law specifically allows the signature stamp to be used for any purpose under the Elections Code, including any sworn statement. This would include the signing of various nomination petitions, declarations of candidacy and circulator’s affidavits, which may include Notary certificates. Therefore, California Notaries should be alerted to the existence of this new law and instructed that signature stamps are permitted for use only on elections documents. Notaries should know that if the signature stamp is affixed by another person on behalf of the person with a disability, the person with the disability must be present and consent to the signing of the document with the stamp. The jurat requires the signature to be affixed in the presence of the Notary.

Under the bill, the Secretary of state must report to the Legislature not later than January 1, 2009, regarding the use of signature stamps during the 2008 elections.

Read the bill text.

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