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Does My Journal Need Bound Pages?

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Is there any reason why I cannot use a three-ring binder for my journal as long as I log all of the required information and keep the pages sequential? — D.D., California

California Notaries are required to keep one active sequential journal of all of their official acts. A permanently bound record book (not loose-leaf) with numbered pages and entry spaces is best for preserving the sequence of notarial acts and for protecting against unauthorized removal of pages or tampering (Government Code, Section 8206).

The California Secretary of State’s Notary Public Section provided the following additional clarification to the NNA in response to a question about the use of loose-leaf journals in May 2013:

“California Government Code section 8206(a)(1) requires that a California Notary Public maintain one active sequential journal under the Notary Public’s direct and exclusive control, which means that the journal must be bound and continually contain all of its pages and every line item recorded. Loose separate pages removed or added at a later time are not in sequence and are not in the one active journal. All of the information prescribed by California Government Code section 8206 must be completed in the journal sequentially at the time each notarial act is completed and all previous entries must be continuously maintained in one bound journal. A California Notary Public cannot maintain multiple active journals. A California Notary Public may have access to a spare blank Notary Public journal; however, once a notarial transaction is recorded in the spare journal, the Notary Public cannot use the previous journal again.”

SEE ALSO: What Every Notary Needs To Know About Journals

Some other states also require the journal of notarial acts to be in a bound format. Nevada requires a journal to be kept “in a bound volume with preprinted page numbers” (NRS 240.120[6][b]). Oregon requires the journal to be bound in a way to “prevent the insertion or removal of the cover or a page” (OAR 160-100-0200[1]). If you are commissioned in a state that does not specify journal format, the NNA recommends using a journal with bound pages as additional protection against unauthorized removal or tampering with your journal entries.

Hotline answers are based on the laws in the state where the question originated and may not reflect the laws of other states. If in doubt, always refer to your own state statutes. – The Editors

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

Confronted with a tricky notarization? Unsure how to proceed? NNA members have unlimited access to our expertly trained NNA Hotline counselors to help you with all of your notarial questions. Call (888) 876-0827, Monday through Friday, 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. PST; Saturday, 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST.

8 Comments

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Catherine Fawcett

20 Oct 2014

I did not see specific information relating to FL notaries and the bounding of my journal. Could you please shed light on thus matter? Thank you

National Notary Association

21 Oct 2014

Hello Catherine, Florida does not require its Notaries to keep a journal. However, if a Florida Notary chooses to keep a journal, page 42 of the Governor's Reference Manual For Notaries states" "We recommend that your journal be bound (not loose-leaf) and have consecutively numbered pages, so that a page could not be removed without being detected." A PDF link can be found here: http://www.flgov.com/wp-content/uploads/notary/ref_manual41-68.pdf

Connie Hartman

10 Nov 2014

How about Pennsylvania, must the journal be bound?

National Notary Association

11 Nov 2014

Hello Connie, From the PA Department of State's website: http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/03_2_notaries_equipment/12624 "Every notary public must keep and maintain custody and control of an accurate chronological register of all official acts. The register must contain the date of the act, the character or type of the notarial act, the date and the parties to the instrument, and the amount of the fee collected. Each notarization performed by the notary must be indicated separately. "A notary public register is the exclusive property of the notary public, may not be used by any other person and may not be surrendered to any employer of the notary public upon termination of employment. When required, each notary public must give a certified copy of the register in the notary public's office to any person requesting it. The register and other public records of the notary public shall not be liable to be seized, attached or taken in execution for debt for any demand whatsoever." While binding is not specified in Pennsylvania, the NNA strongly recommends a bound journal to help prevent tampering.

Evelyn

19 Nov 2014

So, in theory, while not a best practice, we could utilize a binder, so long as it was kept under our direct control to avoid tampering. This would make it easier for those of us doing signings of multiple documents/signers, which require 10+ journal entries. We could print pages with the signer's information via word processing for signatures and thumbprints, then keep in our binder sequentially....

National Notary Association

19 Nov 2014

Hi Evelyn, As stated in the article, California, Nevada and Oregon require the Notary's journal to be in a bound format. If you are commissioned in a state that does not specify journal format, the NNA recommends using a journal with bound pages as additional protection against unauthorized removal or tampering with your journal entries.

Wolfgang Boernert

31 Jul 2017

I have seen several notary applications for smart phones. Some with very handy tools. Can this be used instead of a bound book? NJ Notary

National Notary Association

02 Aug 2017

Hello. While New Jersey does requires Notaries to keep a record of every protest performed (NJSA 7:5-3), and state officials recommend keeping a journal record of other notarial acts even though not required by law, state law does not address whether journal records may be kept in an electronic format or not.

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