As New York approaches the start of designating petition season, the Department of State has issued new rules notaries must follow when notarizing documents, including designating petitions. As a result, if one passes designating petitions as a Notary Public rather than as a member of a political party, there are several new rules that must be followed.

The new requirements are:

  1. The notary public’s notary number must be included on each page of the designating petition the notary witnesses, meaning that if a notary’s stamp does not include the number, it must be handwritten on each petition page.
  2. Before notarizing a document in person, the notary must obtain evidence to identify the individual signing the nominating petition.
  3. Notary publics must now keep a “notary journal” recording the name of each person and the method by which the notary identified the individual signing the petition. Acceptable means by which the notary can identify the petition signer include (i) an attestation the notary personally knows the individual signing the petition; (ii) a government-issued photo ID signed by the individual signing the petition; (iii) two documents issued by an institution, business entity, or federal or state government with at least the person signing the petition’s signature; (iv) an oath or affirmation of a witness who is personally known to both the notary public and the individual signing the petition; or (v) an oath or affirmation of two witnesses who personally know the individual signing the petition and who provide a government- issued ID.
  4. The new rules also prohibit an individual from notarizing any document in which the notary has a direct financial interest, which may preclude a candidate for public office from witnessing his own nominating petitions as a notary public.

These new rules place significantly more requirements on individuals circulating nominating petitions as a notary public, as opposed to by a member of a political party.

The Department of State also enacted new rules for the electronic notarization of documents which make the remote circulation of designating petitions by notaries impracticable.

For more information, please contact Jared A. Kasschau at (516) 880-8106 and jkasschau@harrisbeach.com; Keith M. Corbett at (516) 880-8492 and kcorbett@harrisbeach.com; Thomas J. Garry at (516) 880-8489 and tgarry@harrisbeach.com, or the Harris Beach attorney with which you normally work.

This alert is not a substitute for advice of counsel on specific legal issues.

Harris Beach has offices throughout New York state, including Albany, Buffalo, Ithaca, Long Island, New York City, Rochester, Saratoga Springs, Syracuse and White Plains, as well as Washington D.C., New Haven, Connecticut and Newark, New Jersey.