South Dakota laws on notaries public can be found in Chapter 18-1, Title 18 of South Dakota Statutes. Pursuant to S.D. Codified Laws § 18-1-1, the secretary of state should appoint notaries public, who have residence in the state of South Dakota. Further, a notary public should hold office for six years unless sooner removed by the secretary of state.
An applicant to become a notary public should complete an application form as prescribed by the secretary of state. The applicant should also submit a fee of thirty dollars. The application should include the applicant’s name, street, city, state, zip code, county, and date of birth.
The applicant should apply in the same name as that which will appear as the seal imprint. Each notary may, anywhere in this state, administer oaths and perform all other duties required by law.
The secretary of state may not appoint as a notary public any person who has been convicted of a felony[i]. The secretary of state may also appoint an applicant as a notary public if the applicant resides in a county bordering South Dakota and the applicant’s place of work or business is within the State of South Dakota.
Each notary public, before performing the duties of the office, should take an oath and should give a bond to this state, to be approved by the attorney general, in the penal sum of five thousand dollars, conditioned for the faithful discharge of the duties of the office[ii].
Every notary public before entering upon the duties of his/her office, should provide an official seal and file an impression of the same, together with his/her oath and bond, in the Office of the Secretary of State[iii].
S.D. Codified Laws § 18-1-3.1 provides that each notary public should have a seal which should be used for the purpose of acknowledging documents. The seal should be of a type approved by the secretary of state and should contain at least the following:
- The notary’s name;
- The words, South Dakota;
- The words, notary public; and
- A border surrounding the imprint.
If a seal is used by a notary public, the notary public should write, or print by a device made for such printing, below the seal’s imprint or print and if not provided by the form, the words, my commission expires, and should provide a date therefor[iv].
The secretary of state should issue a commission to each notary public which should be posted in a conspicuous place in the notary’s office for public inspection. The secretary of state should keep in his/her office a record of such appointments and the date of their expiration[v].
A notary public who is personally interested directly or indirectly, or as a stockholder, officer, agent, attorney, or employee of any person or party to any transaction concerning which s/he is exercising any function of his/her office as such notary public, may make any certificates, take any acknowledgments, administer any oaths or do any other official acts as such notary public with the same legal force and effect as if s/he had no such interest except that s/he cannot do any of such things in connection with any instrument which shows upon its face that s/he is a principal party thereto[vi].
A notary public may charge and receive a fee not to exceed ten dollars for each instrument notarized. However, no notary public may charge a fee for notarizing a request for an absentee ballot[vii].
Pursuant to S.D. Codified Laws § 18-1-11, it is a Class two misdemeanor for any notary public to affix his/her official signature to documents when the parties have not appeared before him/her. Similarly, it is a Class two misdemeanor for any notary public to exercise the duties of his/her office after the expiration of his/her commission or when s/he is otherwise disqualified[viii].
Pursuant to S.D. Codified Laws § 18-1-12.1, it is a Class one misdemeanor for a person to act as a notary public or to affix a signature to a document as a notary public if the person has not first obtained a commission from the secretary of state. Likewise, it is a Class one misdemeanor for a person to affix a signature to a document as a notary public when the person has also signed the document as a party to the transaction proceeding[ix].
Any notary public who is convicted of committing an act which is designated as a misdemeanor or any felony should be removed from office by the secretary of state[x]. Further, if the commission of any notary public is revoked, the secretary of state should immediately notify such person by mail[xi].
[i] S.D. Codified Laws § 18-1-1.
[ii] S.D. Codified Laws § 18-1-2.
[iii] S.D. Codified Laws § 18-1-3.
[iv] S.D. Codified Laws § 18-1-3.1.
[v] S.D. Codified Laws § 18-1-4.
[vi] S.D. Codified Laws § 18-1-7.
[vii] S.D. Codified Laws § 18-1-9.
[viii] S.D. Codified Laws § 18-1-12.
[ix] S.D. Codified Laws § 18-1-12.2.
[x] S.D. Codified Laws § 18-1-13.
[xi] S.D. Codified Laws § 18-1-14.