When Should You Turn In Your Notary Journal?

A family friend attended one of our notary classes awhile back, passed the exam and became a successful notary for two full terms. She notarized for a private school where she worked as well as for the occasional parent.  After 8 years, she called me and asked what she should do with her journal. I directed her to the Ventura county clerk’s office. She tried to turn her journals in but she was refused. I called the county clerk and they said they could not accept them. I went higher up, her boss said that her employee was mistaken and they would accept a notary’s journal or journals.

I’m glad that mistake was corrected because the law states that, “…. if a notary public’s commission expires and the notary public has not obtained reappointment within 30 days after the expiration of the commission, then the notarial journal and other notarial records must be delivered within the next 30 days to the county clerk.”

So, that was one uninformed employee but a similar incident arose last month at one of our seminars. Our new teacher Trisha taught a notary class in Stanislaus County where a renewing notary stated that her journal was refused at her county clerk’s office. I promised our teacher I would check it out. I left a voicemail and while waiting for a return call I inquired in Ventura County. The Ventura county clerk employee said they absolutely accept journals, the main reason for rejection would be when a notary has moved and re-registered in another county. Government Code section 8209(a) does address this and states, “If a notary public resigns, is disqualified, or is removed from office, the notarial journal and all other notarial records must be delivered to the clerk of the county in which the notary public’s current oath is on file within 30 days of the resignation, disqualification or removal.” It is not required to register a new bond and oath in a new county if you move because you have statewide jurisdiction. But, apparently, some notaries do. The Ventura employee said that even if you start a journal in one county and then move and re-register in another, you must turn your journal into the clerk’s office where you are currently registered.

When the Stanislaus county clerk’s employee called me back, she said that they do accept journals. I apprised her of the situation with our student. She wondered specifically why she was refused. I mentioned that she was a renewing notary and she said that is the problem. They will not accept journals until a notary has resigned her commission and doesn’t plan on renewing.  “When the state needs to review a journal, they are going to contact the notary directly if they were still commissioned, “ she added.  It’s true, it doesn’t state in our journal laws that notaries can bring their journals in any time to save them from the trouble of storing and maintaining. But, I never thought it would be a problem. She requested that our students write their name, current address and phone number in case the court needs to get in touch with you in the event your notarization is used as evidence.

The Journal law referenced in its entirety for your review:

(California Government Code section 8209(a)
other notarial records must be delivered to the clerk of the county in which the notary public’s current oath is on file within 30 days of the resignation, disqualification or removal. Additionally, if a notary public’s commission expires and the notary public has not obtained reappointment within 30 days after the expiration of the commission, then the notarial journal Workbook 2017 17 and other notarial records must be delivered within the next 30 days to the county clerk. Even if a notary public has applied for reappointment, but, for whatever reason, is not granted a commission within 30 days after expiration of their commission, the notary public must deliver the notarial journal and other notarial records to the county clerk within the next 30 days. Willful failure to deliver the notarial journal and other notarial records to the county clerk within the appropriate time is a misdemeanor, and the notary public is personally liable for damages to any person injured.

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