PA Notice Re: Electronic Notarization (35 Pa.B. 7068) | NNA
Law

PA Notice Re: Electronic Notarization (35 Pa.B. 7068)

Notary Law Update: PA Notice Re: Electronic Notarization (35 Pa.B. 7068)

State: Pennsylvania

Summary:

The Pennsylvania Department of State has decided to launch a renewable and expandable one-year initiative allowing Notaries to apply to the Department for authorization to perform electronic notarizations and upon approval, register their electronic signatures with the county recorder of deeds of the counties of Chester, Lancaster, Philadelphia, or Westmoreland. 

Signed:  December 31, 2005

Effective:  January 30, 2006

Chapter: N/A

Affects:

The effective date of 73 P. S. § 2260.307 and the applicability of 57 P. S. § 155 and 158

Changes:
  1. Allows Notaries who have applied with the Department of State, purchased an Electronic Notary Seal (ENS) from the NNA, and registered their electronic signatures in the counties of Chester, Lancaster, Philadelphia, or Westmoreland to perform electronic notarizations.
  2. Authorizes Notaries to electronically notarize without affixing an official physical seal if the following information is attached to or logically associated with the electronic signature or record being notarized: (1) The full name of the Notary along with the words “Notary Public”; (2) The name of the municipality and the county in which the Notary maintains an office; and (3) The date the Notary’s commission is due to expire (57 P. S. § 158[e])​.
  3. Requires a Notary who performs electronic notarizations to execute the Notary’s electronic signature in a manner that attributes such signature to the Notary identified on the commission (57 P. S. § 155[c]).
Analysis:

When Pennsylvania adopted its version of the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act in 1999, the legislature postponed the effective date of the section on notarization and acknowledgment until 30 days after the Secretary of the Commonwealth published a notice in the Pennsylvania Bulletin stating that the section no longer conflicts with the commonwealth’s Notary Public Law. In 2003, amendments to the Notary Public Law aimed at removing these conflicts were enacted (summarized in the Alert above).

Until recently, despite the changes to the law there was no indication the Secretary of the Commonwealth was ready to publish the required notice allowing Pennsylvania Notaries to begin notarizing electronically. During this time, certain county recorders of deeds in Pennsylvania began implementing electronic recording systems and having various real property instruments notarized electronically in Maryland and Delaware, since Pennsylvania Notaries were not authorized to perform electronic notarizations.

Department of State officials have decided to launch a renewable and expandable one-year initiative allowing Notaries to apply to the Department for authorization to perform electronic notarizations and upon approval, register their electronic signatures with the county recorder of deeds of the counties of Chester, Lancaster, Philadelphia, or Westmoreland. The Department of State will consider broadening the scope of the initiative to include other counties at the conclusion of Phase I. (Phase I will last one year.)

Each Pennsylvania Notary approved by the Department of State must purchase an Electronic Notary Seal from the NNA. The ENS meets the statutory requirement that a Notary must sign an electronic signature in a manner that attributes the signature to the Notary identified on the commission (57 P. S. § 155[c]).

Read the text of the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

Knowledge Center