By Victoria Anton—The importance of administering the oath when notarizing an Affidavit was brought to light publicly when it affected an election proposal in Oregon. The Board of Elections found some of the signatures on petitions for the proposal had not been properly notarized because the oath was not given.

“Oregon voters won’t be casting ballots in a special election to decide whether they support the size of a proposed residential development, the Lucas County Board of Elections decided yesterday after a five-hour hearing.

“The elections board said several petitions filed by Oregon residents were invalid because a notary who signed off on the petitions did not administer the proper oath to those who collected the signatures…

“In their rationale, board members cited the Ohio Revised Code which states “no notary public shall certify to the affidavit of a person without administering the appropriate oath or affirmation to the person.” (From article written by Erica Blake of The Blade in Toledo, Ohio, “Oregon Rezoning Petitions Invalidated.”)

In each and every state in this country, the notary laws and guidelines are very specific in the sequence of events when notarizing any document. In reviewing the process or sequence of events for notarizing a document that is an affidavit or containing a jurat certificate the following guidelines are universal across every state line:

  • Identify the Signer
  • Administer the Oath (prior to the document being signed)
  • Witness the Signer Sign the Document
  • Complete the notarial certificate based on state law

Possible variances you will see from state to state:

  • Whether or not a document has to be complete (no blank lines) or not
  • Verbiage of the actual certificate
  • Type of seal for the notary (signature only, signature and stamp, or signature and embosser)
  • Ink color to be used

There have been many cases because the Notary Public fails to administer an oath; the document becomes null and void. It is the duty of every Notary Public to know the law governing in their state on the proper procedure for notarizing a document.