CO Administrative Rule (eNotarization) | NNA
Rule

CO Administrative Rule (eNotarization)

Notary Law Update: CO Administrative Rule (eNotarization)

State: Colorado

Summary:

The Secretary of State publishes administrative rules for use of electronic signatures by Notaries and related matters.

Signed:  July 29, 2004

Effective:  November 30, 2004

Chapter: N/A

Affects:

Adds Rules 1-6 to 8 CCR 1505-11

Changes:
  1. Defines a Notary’s electronic signature as the act of adding a unique and randomly generated “document authentication number” issued by the Secretary of State to an electronic document along with either: (a) the Notary’s name; the words “Notary Public,” “State of Colorado,” and “My commission expires (followed by the commission expiration date); or (b) an electronic signature approved by the Secretary of State. Note: C.R.S. 12-55-106.5 requires any electronic signature to have the abovementioned elements in (a).
  2. Requires a Notary to register intent to perform electronic notarizations with the Secretary of State on forms provided by the Secretary and be approved prior to performing electronic notarizations. The notification may be filed when the Notary submits an application for a commission or at any time during the commission term.
  3. Requires a Notary to state on the form registering intent whether the Notary will use document authentication numbers alone as an electronic signature. If the Notary elects to use a different electronic signature, the Notary must provide an example of the signature and information about the vendor and technology for the Secretary of State to determine if the electronic signature conforms to Colorado’s Notary laws. 
  4. Specifies that the Secretary of State will provide a “journal” of document authentication numbers to the Notary certified to notarize electronically.
  5. Requires all electronic notarizations to include a unique document authentication number from the Notary’s “journal.”
  6. Charges Notaries with taking reasonable precautions to secure the journal of document authentication numbers from unauthorized use and prohibits the Notary from allowing any other person to have access to these numbers.
  7. Specifies the circumstances under which an approval to notarize electronically ceases: expiration, revocation or resignation of a commission, conviction of a felony, 30 days after a name change (see #8 below), the technology for affixing the electronic signature changes, or the vendor supplying the technology for the electronic signature goes out of business.
  8. Requires Notaries to submit a name change form to the Secretary of State within 30 days of a name change, including notification if the Notary uses a different electronic signature than document authentication numbers, an example of the signature, and information about the vendor and technology used to affix the signature. Note: approval must be received before the Notary uses the new electronic signature.
  9. Requires a Notary or a Notary’s personal representative to permanently erase, delete, or destroy the electronic notarization software and any unused document authentication numbers within 30 days of the date an approval to notarize electronically ceases, except when the commission naturally expires and the Notary seeks recommissioning and resubmits notice of intent to notarize electronically within 30 days of commission expiration.
  10. Prescribes that a Notary must verify that the document signer has adopted an electronic signature to function as his or her signature prior to notarizing the electronic document.
  11. Requires a Notary to inform the Secretary of State within 30 days if the Notary loses any document authentication numbers or suspects that anyone other than the Secretary has access to these numbers.
Analysis:

When laws authorizing Notaries to use electronic signatures were enacted in 2002, the Secretary of State was charged with the task of promulgating rules to implement these laws. Colorado’s approach to electronic signatures has inspired opposition among technologists in some quarters who believe its system of equating an electronic signature with “document authentication numbers” is too elementary. Nevertheless, real need within the title industry for Notaries to perform electronic notarizations propelled the Secretary of State and the Colorado General Assembly to act. It should be noted that Notaries may use any conceivable technology for affixing an electronic signature as long the Secretary of State approves of the technology and they use a document authentication number with the signature. The rule requiring Notaries to register their intent to notarize electronically is inspired by Article III of the Model Notary Act of 2002. It is unfortunate that the term “journal” is used to describe the bank of electronic document authentication numbers, as it may cause some Notaries to confuse it with the Notary’s recordbook of official acts.

Read the text of the administrative rule.

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