PA Electronic Notarization Program Notice | NNA
Law

PA Electronic Notarization Program Notice

Notary Law Update: PA Electronic Notarization Program Notice

State: Pennsylvania

Summary:

The April 17, 2010, official announcement in the Commonwealth’s Pennsylvania Bulletin marks a new phase in the Department of State’s Electronic Notarization Program. It now allows any technology vendor to have its electronic notarization solution approved by the Department for use by Pennsylvania Notaries.

Signed:  April 17, 2010

Effective:  April 17, 2010

Chapter: N/A

Affects:

No statute affected.

Changes:
  1. Broadens the Commonwealth’s Electronic Notarization Program by allowing any vendor with an electronic notarization solution to apply with the Department of State for approval.
  2. Requires a vendor to submit an electronic notarization solution for approval by the Department of State prior to being offered for use by Pennsylvania Notaries.
  3. Stipulates that in an application for approval, a vendor must provide: (a) hardware and software specifications and requirements for the provider’s electronic notarization solution; (b) a description of the types of technology used in the provider’s electronic notarization system or solution; and (c) a demonstration of how the technology is used to perform an electronic notarization.
Analysis:

On January 30, 2006, Pennsylvania established its Electronic Notarization Initiative with the assistance of the National Notary Association. The NNA provided the technology used by a Pennsylvania Notary to create and affix an electronic signature and supportive services that allowed the fledgling program, the first ever of its kind, to get off the ground. The Initiative was hampered by its narrow scope: only real property documents destined for recordation in the counties of Chester, Lancaster, Philadelphia and Westmoreland could be electronically notarized. Roughly one year into the Initiative, the Pennsylvania Department of State solicited recommendations from the NNA for the program’s expansion, and the NNA authored a report with several recommendations for consideration by the Secretary of the Commonwealth. The Department began to send out messages that it was interested in broadening the scope of the program to include other technology solutions than just the one solution used since the inception of the program, and then also permitted all types of documents to be electronically notarized. The April 17, 2010, notice in the official Pennsylvania Bulletin signals the inception of the new phase of the Program, which now allows any technology vendor to have its electronic notarization solution approved by the Department. Any Notary who wants to perform electronic notarizations must apply with the Department of State as previously, but as of the date of this New Law Alert, the Department had not lifted its temporary suspension of accepting applications initiated on September 25, 2009.

Read the Notice.

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