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Law

OK Senate Bill 210

Notary Law Update: OK Senate Bill 210

State: Oklahoma

Summary:

Senate Bill 210 waives the notarization requirement for absentee ballot affidavits under certain circumstances and modifies civil procedure regarding statements under penalty of perjury.

Signed:  May 07, 2020

Effective:  May 07, 2020

Affects:

Amends Section 12-426 of and adds Section 26-14-115.7 to the Oklahoma Statutes.

Changes:

  1. Authorizes a voter who requests an absentee ballot pursuant to 26 OS 14-105 to sign the absentee ballot affidavit and attach a photocopy of a form of identification described in Section 26 OS 7-114(A) in lieu of having his or her signature notarized by a Notary as required by 26 OS 14-108 provided that a state of emergency declared by the Governor related to the COVID-19 pandemic is in effect 45 days prior to a scheduled election or is declared within 45 days of the election.
  2. Authorizes an individual to declare under penalty of perjury instead of swearing an oath or affirmation in any matter except (a) a deposition; (b) any oath of office; (c) an oath required to be taken before a specified official other than a Notary Public; or (d) any notarial act, oath or affidavit required by Title 26 of the Oklahoma Statutes (related to elections).
Analysis:

Due to concerns over the coronavirus and maintaining appropriate social distancing to mitigate this risk, the Oklahoma Legislature has temporarily waived the notarization requirement for absentee ballot affidavits. Many of the individuals who request absentee ballots are among those most at risk of contracting the virus and the typical notarial act required on an absentee ballot affidavit subjects both the voter and Notary to heightened risk. The waiver applies only if a state of emergency declared by the governor related to COVID-19 is in effect or is declared within 45-days prior to a scheduled election.

Also, the new law allows an individual to make an unsworn declaration instead of a sworn oath or affirmation before a Notary or notarial officer. SB 210 bill clarifies though that an unsworn declaration may not be made with respect to a deposition, oath of office, oath required to be taken before a specified official other than a Notary, or any Notarial act required under Election code, Oklahoma Statutes, Title 26.

Read the bill text.

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