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Notary Bulletin

The State Of The Notary Public Office: 'Unprecedented' National Attention Creates Opportunity To Advance 'Truth' About Notarization

During the past year, America’s Notaries were thrust into the national spotlight on an unprecedented scale. But the judicial rulings, legislative actions and media headlines that generated the attention also created unprecedented opportunities, according to the State of the Notary Public Office report, delivered during the National Notary Association’s 33rd Annual Conference in Las Vegas.

There is “an opportunity to advance the truth about notarization and to secure protections for a public office that is a little-recognized national asset,” said the NNA’s Michael Robinson, who delivered the much-anticipated report to Conference attendees and Notaries across the nation.

The theme of Notaries controlling their own destiny resonated through much of the address, with particular emphasis on the value of Notary education and how social media platforms — such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn — provide Notaries with a powerful communications tool that will enable them to reach out and shape the destiny of Notaries everywhere.

In the wake of the high-profile Illinois Supreme Court ruling in Vancura v. Katris, the report also outlined that Notaries today are responsible for their own professional training, and they cannot depend on their state or their employer to watch out for them. Notaries “must take charge of their own education and their own professionalization if they want to act effectively as a Notary and be protected from liability at the same time,” Robinson said.

And referencing consumer protection in the electronic age, the report analyzed recent Virginia legislation that will permit a “video conference” substitute for physical appearance before a Notary, along with other “startup” efforts to implement electronic means of notarization that lack proper security, and dismiss some of the core principles and practices of notarization.

“For the past several decades the NNA has led efforts to implement technology that would be quicker, easier and cheaper for the notarial process — but with one major additional element … security of the transaction,” Robinson said. “You can depend on the NNA to advise you on the wisest course of action if you are ever approached to participate in an electronic notarization that you question or are uncomfortable about."

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