I have received many emails from Jocelyn Benson over the years — from the campaign trail, Wayne Law, Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality, Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission — but this one hits different.

Congratulations on your decision to become a notary public for the State of Michigan!

Thank you, Secretary Benson, though this feels less like a decision than destiny.

From humble beginnings of thinking that it was “nota republic,” I have now realized my months-long dream of becoming an official nota(ry).

Attached is your commission wall certificate and a commission wallet-size card. Please feel free to print, frame, display, and laminate the attachments.

Say no more. Not that you asked, but I own multiple laminators. I have long resisted the urge to laminate my social security card and quickly regretted laminating my vaccine card in between shots. Now that I am one of only 113,000 Michigan notaries, it feels irresponsible not to also get a wallet optimized for displaying my credentials.

• To view or print attachments, you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader. It is available free of charge from Adobe's website:

If only you had the power to bring back Adobe Flash Player. Hard to believe we said goodbye to Flash two years ago today — we hardly knew ye!

• Use only the official expiration date shown on the attached card and wall certificate. Do NOT use the expiration date shown on your surety bond.

Surety thing!

• Sign your name on the attached card as it will appear on documents you notarize. The requirements for performing a proper notarization are on the back.

My signature has been virtually unchanged since I opened my first bank account with Standard Federal — and I know the requirements like the back of my hand.

As a commissioned Michigan Notary Public, you are charged with the responsibility to serve the public as well as to educate yourself in the legal aspects of performing notary services. The Michigan Law On Notarial Acts requires that you read the law in its entirety prior to performing any notarial acts. To assist you in accessing additional resources available to you on our website, the following links are provided: Michigan Law On Notarial Acts

I read it. Not a page turner, but lots of good stuff there. This is my favorite part:

55.283 Obtaining and reading state statutes. Sec. 23. Before a notary public performs any notarial act, the notary public shall obtain and read a copy of all the current statutes of this state that regulate notarial acts.

Notary Public Website and Notary Training
Thank you again for your commitment to honesty and integrity as you serve the people of Michigan.

Thank you, Secretary Benson. I must admit that I was concerned people might see me differently once they learned I was a notary. But when I got my seal, I couldn’t help but pause to take stock of the need for humble civic commitments like this. In an era of counterfeit and otherwise questionable claims, vouching for the authenticity of a document that matters in someone’s life is a way to help them proceed with confidence and contribute to a shared sense of possibility for the future. I also thought of Oreos because the pattern on the seal resembles an Oreo.

Don't be fooled or pressured into breaking the law!
• Never notarize a document where you have not verified the identity of the person.
• Never notarize a document without the person in your presence.
• Never notarize a signature that you have not witnessed.
• Never notarize a document where you have a conflict of interest.
• Never notarize for a family member without verification first; there are prohibitions.

You can count on me!