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Law

OK Senate Bill 1779

Notary Law Update: OK Senate Bill 1779

State: Oklahoma

Summary:

Senate Bill 1779 defines "absentee ballot harvesting" that contains prohibitions for Notaries, and also makes clarifications to the law limiting Notaries from notarizing 20 absentee ballot affidavits in an election.

Signed:  May 21, 2020

Effective:  May 21, 2020

Chapter: TBD

Affects:

Creates 26 OS 14-101.1 and amends 26 OS 14-108.1.

Changes:
  1. Defines "absentee ballot harvesting" to include "notarizing or witnessing more absentee ballots than allowed by law.
  2. Authorizes a Notary to notarize a maximum of 20 absentee ballot affidavits for a single election unless the Notary has written approval of the secretary of the county election board, in which case such approval shall apply for affidavits notarized within that county.
  3. Provides that the 20 ballot affidavit limit does not apply to absentee ballot affidavits notarized at a Notary's place of business that is open to the general public and notarized during the normal business hours of the Notary. 
Analysis:

Oklahoma is one of a few states that still require a Notary to be involved in the absentee ballot process. In this latest amendment to the absentee ballot affidavit process, Senate Bill 1779 defines a new crime of "absentee ballot harvesting." Among the prohibitions in the definition is witnessing or notarizing more affidavits than allowed by law. The general rule is a Notary may notarize no more than 20 absentee ballot affidavits in a single election. But Senate Bill 1779 modifies this general rule by allowing a Notary who receives written approval of the secretary of the county election board to notarize more than 20 absentee ballot affidavits as long as those affidavits are notarized within the county. The new law also clarifies that the limit does not apply to those affidavits notarized at a Notary's place of business that is open to the general public and notarized during the normal business hours of the Notary.

Read the bill text.

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