Rep. Brian Gosch will likely become Speaker of the South Dakota House today. I remain convinced that he gained his office illegally by notarizing his own nominating petitions last winter. Former Secretary of State Chris Nelson agreed last summer that candidates should not notarize their own petitions. Current Secretary of State Jason Gant has whimpered that he doesn't know what the law says on the issue of self-notarization and wants clarification to the law.
Gant and the State Board of Elections have thus proposed House Bill 1018. Along with many minor revisions to election law (he and him get changed to gender-neutral phrases), Section 3 of HB 1018 adds the Gosch Clause:
The verification by the person circulating the petition may not be notarized by the candidate whom the petition is nominating.
Notary law already makes this prohibition clear, since notaries are not supposed to fix their seals to any documents to which they are principal parties. But since Secretary Gant has trouble reading, we need to spell it out for him with the Gosch Clause.
I look forward to hearing the debate on this bill... and I look forward to seeing whether Speaker Gosch votes to declare his own notary behavior inappropriate.