Ohio passes e-notarization law; takes effect Sept. 29

Newswire: Sept. 5, 2017.

Dateline: Columbus, Ohio.

Ohio has passed a law allowing long-distance notarization, the recognition of “electronic notaries” and appearances before them online.

The bill, passed earlier this week, makes Ohio the latest state to recognize such forms of notarization. It takes effect Sept. 29. Under it, individuals may “visually appear” before “electronic notaries” by means of “electronic communications devices” — in plain English, they can have documents notarized via web conference.

Notaries are also allowed to register themselves as electronic notaries, using devices approvied by the Ohio secretary of state, which is responsible for establishing standards.

The law, however, prohibits the use of this technology for taking depositions, and it is not valid for administering an oath.

Lexology notes that Ohio joins Texas and Nevada in passing e-notarization laws in the past two months. Montana and Virginia did so two years before. However, California — by far the largest state by population in the U.S. — specifically prohibits electronic notarization in messaging from its secretary of state’s office.

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