FAQ For Notaries Public
Absentee Voting in Oklahoma Frequently Asked Questions for Notaries Public
Background: For standard absentee ballots, state law requires an absentee voter to sign an absentee ballot affidavit, “such signature to be notarized at no charge by a notary public.” (26 O.S. §14-108)
How do I become a notary public?
How do I find a notary public?
The Oklahoma Secretary of State maintains a searchable database of notaries here.
What are the general duties of a notary public.
Are absentee ballot affidavits required to be notarized?
For standard absentee ballot affidavits, state law requires an absentee voter’s signature to be notarized. (26 O.S. §14-108)
However, there are alternatives to notarization of absentee ballot affidavits.
During a declared state of emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic, an absentee voter may include a copy of the voter’s identification with the absentee ballot affidavit instead of having it notarized. Learn more here. Also, there are absentee ballots for certain special conditions, which have alternate methods for executing an absentee ballot affidavit. Learn more here.
Can a notary public charge a fee to notarize an absentee ballot affidavit?
How does a notary verify the identity of an absentee voter?
State law requires a notary to determine the identity of a person “either from personal knowledge or from satisfactory evidence.” (49 O.S. §113)
Is a notary required to keep a record of the absentee ballot affidavits that are notarized?
Yes. State law requires a notary public to maintain a log of all absentee ballot affidavits that he or she notarizes for a period of at least two (2) years after the date of the election. (26 O.S. §14-108.1) Notaries may contact the Secretary of State’s office for recommendations about the information notaries should record and maintain for their official acts. Otherwise, state law does not specify whether a place of business or other entity shall keep and maintain any additional documentation.
Are there certain persons who are not allowed to notarize an absentee ballot?
Yes. State law prohibits a candidate whose name appears on the ballot, a campaign chairperson, or a campaign treasurer from notarizing an absentee ballot. (26 O.S. §14-108)
Are there limits on the number of absentee ballots a notary public may notarize?
Yes. State law allows a notary to notarize up to twenty (20) absentee ballot affidavits at a single election. Subject to the exceptions below, this twenty-signature notarization limit applies statewide.
However, there are exceptions to this limit:
- The limit of twenty (20) affidavits does not apply to the notarization of absentee ballot affidavits at the place of business of a notary public that is open to the general public during the normal business hours.
- A notary public can request permission from a county election board secretary to notarize more than twenty (20) absentee ballots at a single election in the county served by that secretary.
Must a notary public possess a waiver for each county that he or she wishes to notarize ballots in?
The twenty-signature notarization limit applies statewide. To the extent that a notary public may or will exceed the twenty-signature notarization limit, he or she must have a waiver from the county election board secretary in any county and for any election he or she wishes to notarize absentee ballot affidavits.
How long does a notary waiver remain valid?
Any waiver to exceed the twenty-signature notarization limit granted by a county election board secretary is valid only for the election(s) a notary public is authorized to exceed the limit.
Does a political party headquarters or campaign office qualify for a “place of business” exception to notary's limit on notarizing 20 absentee affidavits for a single election?
State law says the limit of 20 affidavits does not apply to the notarization of absentee ballot affidavits “at the place of business of a notary public” that is “open to the general public during the normal business hours.” If the office meets these requirements, the exception applies. If not, it is recommended that a notary public request permission from the county election board secretary to notarize more than 20 absentee ballot affidavits at a single election in that county. (See 26 O.S. §14-108.1 as amended in May 2020 by Section 8 of SB 1779)
Can “drive-thru” notarization services be offered for absentee ballot affidavits?
Neither federal nor state law prohibit this type of service, but participating notaries must meet one of the exceptions previously described to notarize more than twenty (20) absentee ballot affidavits at a single election.
Can a notary public request an absentee ballot on behalf of another person, or submit a voted absentee ballot to election officials on behalf of another voter?
No. Except for a few special circumstances, a voter must apply for his or her own absentee ballot, and must return his or her absentee ballot to election officials. State law specifically prohibits a notary public or an agent working on behalf of the notary from doing any of the following (26 O.S. §14-108.1):
- Requesting absentee ballots on behalf of another voter; or
- Assisting another voter in requesting absentee ballots; or
- Receiving by mail an absentee ballot on behalf of another voter; or
- Submitting a completed absentee ballot on behalf of another voter.
Can an absentee ballot affidavit be notarized remotely?
Yes. An absentee ballot affidavit that is legally notarized by a method allowed under Oklahoma law will be accepted as valid by a county election board. However, an Oklahoma notary cannot charge an absentee voter the fee that is customary for remotely notarizing documents.
Can a notary public provide a postage stamp or an envelope to an absentee voter for the purpose of returning an absentee ballot to the county election board?