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Notary duties by the book

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Under Colorado's notary-public law, notaries must:

• Witness a signature before notarizing it and verify the identity of the person who signs it.

• Keep a journal of every notarial act, including type and date of action, title or type of document that was notarized and date of such document; name, signature and address of each person whose signature is taken.

• Be allowed to maintain the journal by any firm, employer or professionally licensed person.

Secretary of State's Office spokesperson Lynn Bartels says via email, "Any action we would take against a notary public would only be administratively handled and would only impact their commission." She notes disciplinary action authorized by the statute includes suspension or revocation of a notary's commission or a letter of admonition. "In cases where we believe there may be criminal behavior, we refer those cases to the local DA," she wrote.


But the statute does contain a reference to a possible crime, stating, "A notary public who knowingly and willfully violates the duties imposed by this part 1 commits official misconduct and is guilty of a class 2 misdemeanor." (Part 1 includes all the rules required of notaries to carry out their duties.)

Official misconduct, as defined by statute, occurs when a public servant, "with intent to obtain a benefit for the public servant or another or maliciously to cause harm to another ... knowingly (a) commits an act relating to his office but constituting an unauthorized exercise of his official function; or (b) refrains from performing a duty imposed upon him by law; or (c) violates any statute or lawfully adopted rule or regulation relating to his office."


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