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NNA Publishes Model Electronic Notarization Act

NNA Publishes Model Electronic Notary Act

To help state legislators and policymakers regulate the use of electronic signatures by Notaries, the National Notary Association has published the Model Electronic Notarization Act (MENA) of 2017. The MENA is a model statute providing detailed rules for electronic notarization that upholds the value and integrity of the Notary’s impartial witnessing role.

Drafted by the NNA and reviewed by a panel of legal professionals, state officials, law enforcement, technology providers, industry leaders and Notaries, the MENA addresses key legal and technical issues of eNotarization, electronic journal records and the use of webcam communication for electronic notarial acts.

Two states allow Notaries to use webcam technology to communicate with signers. Supporters claim use of webcams will make electronic notarizations more convenient and secure than paper-based notarizations. However, several states prohibit webcam notarizations, arguing that the elimination of personal appearance from a notarial act fundamentally weakens consumer protection and increases the risk of fraud.

The MENA is designed so that state legislators and regulators may adopt all or part of it alongside of their existing paper-based Notary statutes. Previous model acts published by the NNA have been used by dozens of states.

In addition to the model statute, the MENA provides a legal commentary that explains the policy positions of the Act. It also includes four appendices, including a comprehensive history of federal and state electronic notarization legislation and administrative rule-making dating back to the 1990s.

U.S. states and jurisdictions wanting to add electronic notarization provisions to their existing Notary laws may look to the Model Electronic Notarization Act as a model and source of information on all the key policy considerations on electronic notarization.

Kat Garcia is the Public Relations Specialist with the National Notary Association. David Thun is an Associate Editor at the National Notary Association.

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