Community Notary Program
The Community Notary Program is simple, commission new notaries to enhance voting access in underserved areas. We will sponsor 10 notaries to serve as the resident notary at their community center, ready to notarize ballots each election. Oklahoma requires that absentee ballots be notarized to get counted, and finding a notary can be difficult and intimidating. Ballots end up not cast because people aren't returning their ballots and aren't applying to vote absentee.
With community notaries, we want to work on the systemic problems with notary access, notably misunderstanding and mistrust. By sponsoring established members within community centers, we will bring notaries directly to people and have a trusted surrogate promoting absentee voting.
An added benefit is that our community notaries will be able to fulfill the duties any notary can. Not only are we expanding access for absentee ballots, but we are also expanding overall notary access in communities that are underserved.
Organizations across Tulsa host notary opportunities for voters to stop by and have their absentee ballots notarized. We promote and feature these events and post them on our notary event calendar conveniently for voters. Tulsa Voter Van doesn't host notary events but works closely with organizations to advertise and staff them.
Finding a notary willing to notarize an absentee ballot has been challenging and intimidating in the past. That’s why Tulsa Voter Van, 918 Vote, and OKVOTE, joined together to create a Tulsa-Area list of volunteer notaries ready to notarize ballots. Voters can search terms like a notary’s area around Tulsa, preferred time of day, and identities. The registry is designed to help a voter find someone they’re comfortable with and is easy to access. Check back soon when our registry will be live again.
Becoming a Notary
Becoming a notary is easier than you think. You can do it yourself on the Secretary of State website or with the assistance of a company. The cost is less than $150 and it allows you to notarize absentee ballots across Oklahoma.
We suggest this notary training toolkit that spells out all you need to know if you’re new to notarizing ballots. The information is through State Senator Mary Boren. It is important you know the rules of notarizing ballots because if there are discrepancies, all of the ballots you notarized will be invalidated.
Ballot notaries can reach voters multiple ways. We host two. Volunteers are able to sign up for notary events that take place across Tulsa in the lead up to an election. These are stations that give voters the opportunity to drop by and get their ballot notarized.
We also host a registry of notaries, a joint effort with 918 Vote and OKVOTE. These are volunteers who have signed up to offer services to voters, and are searchable by location, identity, and time of day preferred. Keep an eye out for when registration re-opens.
Each notary is limited to notarizing 20 ballots per county per election. However, the cap can be lifted with permission from each county’s board of election. One county’s approval does not affect another’s. A notary with clearance in Tulsa County would still be constrained in Osage County. If you might practice in multiple counties, we suggest applying in each of them. No county charges notaries to submit an application. Keeping track of how many ballots notarized per county can be cumbersome, and you risk invalidating votes. We urge notaries to seek a waiver.
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