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Virginia Drives Innovation Through Remote Electronic Notarization

Levar Stoney

Secretary of the Commonwealth of Virginia

We are fortunate to live in an age where technology is advancing by leaps and bounds and the opportunity to improve our lives through innovation presents itself often.  It is the responsibility of lawmakers and administrators to ensure that our policies and procedures allow us to leverage these developments when they occur so that our citizens can benefit early and often.

This month we saw the launch of a Virginia company — Notarize — that demonstrates the synergy that is created when exciting technology and forward thinking policy come together.  The company allows clients in all 50 U.S. states to have their documents notarized remotely online, by a licensed notary public located in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  Virginia was the first state to pass legislation allowing for this type of digital transaction, and this administration has embraced implementation of this law and the opportunity to modernize the notary process. By being at the forefront of both technology and policy, Notarize is promoting a number of important ideals which we hold very close in Virginia:

Innovation of Process

The notarization process has, and will continue to be, a critical component of the most important transactions that occur in our lives.  It is imperative that procedures remain in place that ensure the authenticity of our signatures and deter fraud and coercion. Our Founding Fathers were looking out for our best interest, but had they been alive today they would agree that the current process could use updating. Technology is now available to allow for high-quality video transmission and identity verification via imaging software. We are committed to supporting use of this transformative technology for the convenience of those who need it most.  For example, Virginia has one of the largest military populations in the country. Remote notarization can make it easier on military families to execute a power of attorney, close on a home, obtain business loans, etc.

Security and Fraud Prevention

As Secretary of the Commonwealth, I concern myself everyday with the reduction of transaction fraud and security. During in-person notarizations, agents have no tools to help them validate a person’s identity. Using digital tools, such as a software-based forensic analysis of a driver’s license, remote agents are better able to spot false forms of identification. Additionally, instead of a paper journal, each transaction is now stored and accessible from encrypted data servers for a minimum of 5 years, creating a digital audit trail. Should a signature ever be in question, there is now video to review to make the correct call. Such verification never existed before and will make the process safer and more effective.

Job Creation

Notarization is a potential $30 billion market here in the United States, with more than 1 billion notarizations conducted annually. As the first state to allow for remote electronic notarization, Virginia is best positioned to employ our own. Becoming an electronic notary is an opportunity for those in need of flexible work schedules and regular incomes, whether it’s supplemental or primary. We are proud to employ the workforce of the future.  Notarize is just one opportunity to help build this base.   

The launch of Notarize has been gratifying for those of us who believe that we can always do things better — and it’s been especially exciting for those who have worked to ensure the environment is ripe for innovation.  Notarize didn’t choose to headquarter in Virginia by chance. It was a conscious decision directly tied to our policy — and we look forward to advancing our position as a leading innovator for years to come.

Levar Stoney

Secretary of the Commonwealth of Virginia

Levar Stoney was sworn in as Secretary of the Commonwealth on January 19, 2014. Stoney is the first African-American to hold this post and is the youngest member of Governor…