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Virginia Halts Bill To Remove Personal Appearance From eNotarization

A Virginia Senate subcommittee has halted legislation labeled “dangerous” by the NNA that would have redefined “satisfactory evidence of identity” to allow eNotarizations through video and audio conference technology without the physical appearance of the signer before a Notary Public.

The Virginia Senate Committee for Courts of Justice tabled the bill on March 1 after strong expressions of opposition from the NNA and state officials and organizations from across the country.

The bill would have permitted signers requesting eNotarizations to communicate remotely with Notaries via an audio/video link — a change that would have jeopardized the basic safeguards of personal appearance, said NNA Vice President of Best Practices and eNotarization William A. Anderson, who testified before Virginia lawmakers against the bill.

“At present, there’s not a technology that can safely replace personal appearance,” Anderson said. “With video, the Notary can’t assess the dynamics of what’s going on around the signer. The Notary can’t know if the signer has a gun to his head or is being forced to sign the document.”

In addition to removing the personal appearance requirement, HB 529 would also have permitted persons to conduct eNotarizations without being commissioned as a traditional paper-based Notary.

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