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Never Take Shortcuts When Notarizing Election Documents

VotingGetting election forms and documents properly notarized and filed on time is an important part of political races. As states and towns start to get their ballots together for the 2014 political season, don’t forget that faulty notarizations on election documents often result in messy legal battles between political opponents.

Politicians and petition circulators often rush to get papers such as nomination petitions and filing documents signed, notarized and filed so that a candidate or key issue makes it on an upcoming ballot. But if you’re asked to notarize any signatures on election documents, don’t take shortcuts no matter who asks or how tight a deadline is — because an improperly notarized election form is more trouble than it’s worth. One South Dakota lawmaker found this out in 2012 after notarizing his own nomination petition led to a legal challenge to his nomination. And two Pennsylvania Notaries lost their commissions in 2011 for notarizing nomination forms for local election candidates who failed to personally appear for the notarization.

Just as with anything you’re asked to notarize, with election documents always ensure that the signer personally appears, is properly identified and that the certificate wording is properly completed with your seal affixed correctly. You’ll not only be doing your duty as a Notary, but helping ensure that Election Day goes smoothly as well.

David Thun is an Associate Editor at the National Notary Association.

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