Failing to require a signer’s personal appearance during a notarization is a serious mistake with grave consequences — as two Philadelphia Notaries found out after improperly notarizing election documents without the signers present. Carmella Fitzpatrick of the Republican City Committee and Jeanine DiGiannantonio of the Philadelphia Parking Authority recently admitted that in 2010 they notarized nomination forms for local election candidates who didn’t physically appear before them, according to the Pennsylvania Department of State. Fitzpatrick also failed to provide copies of her journal entries to investigating officials upon request. As a result, both Notaries were ordered to surrender their commissions and are now prohibited from applying for new ones. The NNA reminds all Notaries that signers must personally appear and be positively identified in order to perform a proper notarization. Ignoring these requirements not only leaves the document highly vulnerable to fraud, but it can result in civil and criminal penalties for the Notary. For more information or guidance, consult the NNA’s Recommended Notary Practices.