With election day drawing near, you likely have received your absentee ballot and are working to closely follow all required steps that ensure your voice is heard. Each state has individually implemented a variety of protocols to guarantee each absentee vote is valid. These protocols range from requiring witnesses to watch you vote to having you include a copy of your driver’s license so they can match it to their records. In a few states, notarization will play a very important part in this process. Here’s a quick guide to the states that use notarization to validate votes.
Absentee ballots must be completed in the presence of a witness. This witness can be a Notary, official who is authorized to administer oaths or anyone 18 or older.
Once an absentee ballot is completed, it must be sealed in a plain “secrecy envelope” which will then be placed inside an envelope featuring the affidavit. This affidavit envelope will need to be signed by either one Notary or two witnesses age 18 or older.
In one of the more complex processes, Maine requires that ballots must be completely filled out in the presence of a Notary, court clerk or two witnesses. Before you start filling out your ballot, the Notary must examine to ensure it is unmarked. Additionally, none of these people acting as witnesses are allowed to know how you voted. All potential witnesses are required to be well versed in Maine election laws, so a Notary is recommended.
Your absentee ballot must be witnessed and signed by a Notary official, who will then execute a jurat for the voter’s signature. Once the absentee ballot is received, it can only be viewed in the presence of officials authorized to administer oaths.
If you can’t vote absentee in Missouri, you have the option to vote-by-mail. Both options require notary stamps on the affidavit that is included with the ballot.
For most elections, the absentee voter’s ballot must be notarized. However, due to COVID-19, voters have the option to attach a copy of their driver’s license as an alternative.
7. South Dakota
Before you even receive your absentee ballot, you must send in either a notarized application or a copy of your state ID. This requirement was recently waived for both military members and South Dakota residents living outside of the United States.
Voting absentee is never as simple as circling a name. Before casting your vote, make sure you check all the requirements for your state. A simple mistake could cause your vote to be discarded.
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