By Carol Salter—I am constantly amazed at the power of one voice. If you look down the corridor of time, you see all the decisions, events and votes that were cast that changed the course of history. In 1776, the English language was chosen over German as the official language, by one vote. In 1876 Rutherford B. Hayes became President of the United States by one vote. California, Idaho, Oregon, Texas and Washington all became states by one vote.

A vote is cast by one voice. One voice that can affect change, which results in both good or bad outcomes. I am reminded of the passing of Senator Edward Kennedy. No matter where you fall in the political spectrum, you recognize the power of his voice. In listening to some commentaries and interviews, it is evident that his constituents mourn the loss of that voice on their behalf.

So by now, you may be thinking, what does one voice have to do with notarizations? Sometimes all it takes is one voice to stand up against fraud. It takes one voice to testify in committee on notary legislation. It takes one voice to make a difference. Too many times, notary procedures are rushed through without any thought given to correctly identifying the signer, checking the document for blank spaces, not administering oaths or affirmations, sometimes not even requiring personal appearance! All it takes is the voice of the notary to require what is needed, deter fraud, administer an oath, and speak up for those unable to speak for themselves.

I occasionally receive a call to notarize a document for a hospice patient. These notarizations can be extremely difficult because they occur at end of life and often the family is attempting to get things wrapped up. It is imperative that the notary spends time alone with the document signer to ensure that the signer is willing and aware and understands what they are signing. Each document signer has a voice which demands to be heard by the notary. That voice may be weak, and bowed down with time, but still a voice that is relevant and should be respected.

So, what is the power of one voice? As a notary, be the champion of those voices who need to be heard. Be a voice for truth and ethics. Your voice makes a difference.