ME Legislative Docket 1865 | NNA
Law

ME Legislative Docket 1865

Notary Law Update: ME Legislative Docket 1865

State: Maine

Summary:

LD 1865 clarifies potential conflict of interest situations for a Notary who administers an oath or affirmation to a circulator of a petition for a direct initiative or people's veto referendum.

Signed:  June 22, 2018

Effective:  December 13, 2018

Chapter: 418

Affects:

Amends 4 MRSA 954-A and enacts 21-A MRSA 903-E.

Changes:
  1. States it is a conflict of interest for a Notary to administer an oath or affirmation to a circulator of a petition for a direct initiative or people's veto referendum under Title 21-A, Section 902 if the Notary also provides services that are not notarial acts to initiate or promote that direct initiative or people's veto referendum.
  2. Clarifies that a Notary or other person authorized by law to administer oaths or affirmations generally is not authorized to administer an oath or affirmation to the circulator of a petition under Section 902 if the Notary or other generally authorized person is (a) providing any other services, regardless of compensation, to initiate the direct initiative or people's veto referendum for which the petition is being circulated; or (b) providing services, regardless of compensation, to promote the direct initiative or people's veto referendum for which the petition is being circulated.
  3. Clarifies that "initiate" as used in the new law has the same meaning as Section 1052, Subsection 4-B.
Analysis:

LD 1865 aims to add transparency to the election initiative process in Maine. Related to Notaries Public, it was pointed out in testimony on the bill that an inherent conflict of interest exists among Notaries who administer an oath or affirmation to petition circulators as a paid operative of a campaign. In the past, entire campaigns have been disqualified by the Secretary of State due to invalid signature collection and notarization. Real grassroots campaigns do not have a paid Notary on staff to notarize petitions in a central location at all hours of the day. LD 1865 would force organizing groups to find an objective, third-party Notary to notarize their signatures.

Read the bill text.

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