The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has launched an investigation into three Supreme Court justices who allegedly used court employees to notarize their 2012 campaign paperwork. Investigators have accused the judges of improperly using on-duty staff Notaries to assist in their election campaigns.
The justices named in the investigation missed the April deadline for having their names on the 2012 ballot, according to officials. In a last minute effort to qualify, they placed a hearing on hold so they could complete their paperwork and have it notarized by court employees.
Judges have used state employees to notarize candidate paperwork in the past, including the 2010 election. The criminal investigation will determine whether or not using on-duty state employees to perform the candidate’s personal, political business was a violation of election laws, which, in this case, would be considered a misdemeanor charge and could impact the election outcome.
As Notaries are often called upon during election seasons to notarize nomination petitions, affidavits, and a variety of other election-related documents, the NNA encourages all Notaries to adhere to state laws and review its Recommended Notary Practices. Faulty notarizations can render a petition invalid, and can also result in serious charges against the Notary.
For more on how proper Notarial practices help maintain the integrity of election-related documents, check out this Bulletin article.