Maine has joined 39 other states to allow remote online notarization (RON) after Gov. Janet Mills signed into law LD 2023. The legislation went into effect on July 1, 2023. The ten states left to adopt RON includes CA, MS, AL (adopted RIN), GA, SC, NC, DE, CT, RI, MA.
The bill permits any notarial officer in the state to perform notarial acts for a remotely located individual. The bill also includes security measures, including identity proofing and recording requirements.
Highlights of the legislation:
- Requires the notary to be in Maine to conduct a RON transaction. The bill modifies the current residency requirements, which limit applicants to residents of Maine and residents of New Hampshire who are employed in Maine or operate a trade or business in Maine.
- The audio/visual recording must be retained for at least 10 years.
- Notary must inform the Secretary of State that they will perform RONs and identify the technology to be used.
- A notary may use communication technology to perform the act for a remotely located person if:
- The notary has personal knowledge of the remote person’s identity, has satisfactory evidence of the identity of the remotely located individual by oath or affirmation from a credible witness or has obtained satisfactory evidence of the identity of the remotely located individual by using at least two different types of identity proofing.
- Notaries shall maintain a journal that chronicles all notarial acts that the officer performs. The officer shall retain the journal for 10 years after the performance of the last notarial act chronicled in the journal.
- Notaries may select one or more tamper-evident technologies to perform RONs. The Secretary of State is to determine what technology is permissible via a rule-making process.
- A register of deeds may accept for recording a tangible copy of an electronic record containing a notarial certificate.
- A notarial act performed in another state has the same effect under the laws of Maine as long as the act is performed by a person authorized by that state’s law to perform a notarial act.
ALTA continues to support the SECURE Notarization Act, which now has 83 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives. The bill would permit immediate nationwide use of RON, create national minimum standards for its use and provide certainty for the interstate recognition of RON.