On August 4, I took the oath to become a Notary Public. I think it will be handy to help my clients when they need notary services. But that’s not why I did it. I did it to make easier for people to vote by mail-in or absentee ballot. Missouri is one of three states that (at least at the writing of this June 1, 2020 article on NPR’s website) requires a notary to cast a vote through the mail. The other two states are Oklahoma and Mississippi. In some instances, absentee ballots in Missouri do not have to notarized. But all no-excuse mail-in ballots—which are new for the pandemic in 2020—must be notarized.
I am passionate about voters’ rights and I thought becoming a notary would be one way I could be helpful. By law, a Missouri notary may not charge to notarize a ballot or voter registration, but it’s not always easy to find a notary when you want to vote. That’s why I’ll be joining other notaries at ballot-notarizing events before November’s general election. I’m also happy to arrange private notarizing. Of course, masks and social distancing (to the maximum extent possible) will be implemented.
It’s not hard to become a notary in Missouri, but it’s not exactly easy, either. In a nutshell, you have to meet the requirements, read the handbook, take an open-book test, apply and then after you receive your commission number, get a surety bond, take it to the courthouse, take an oath, get a certificate, send the certificate to the company that supplies the notary stamp and register, and order those supplies. (I paid a total of $89 for all of the above.) If you’re interested in becoming a notary, start at this page on the Secretary of State’s website: How to become a Missouri notary.
The order you have to do things in is very specific and, at least to my mind, wasn’t completely clear. But as soon as I finished the process, I wrote it all down. I’m happy to share that document with anyone who’s interested.
If you’re in the St. Louis area and want any help becoming a notary (or getting hooked up with other notaries who are making themselves available to notarize ballots) or if you just need me to notarize your ballot (or anything else), please shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am excited to be able to be helpful!