The use of remote online notarization is now permitted in Illinois, New Jersey and Oregon, bringing the number of states with RON legislation up to 37.
Legislation is also pending in New York and New Hampshire, according to the American Land Title Association.
The only states to not pass RON legislation to date are California, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Delaware, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maine, and Massachusetts. A bill has been introduced in Georgia (House Bill 344) and in South Carolina (Senate Bill 486) but no action has taken place since.
RON is not currently allowed in Washington, D.C.
In May, senators Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) reintroduced federal legislation that would allow RON nationwide. Dubbed the Securing and Enabling Commerce Using Remote and Electronic (SECURE) Notarization Act, the bipartisan legislation would permit “immediate nationwide use” of RON by every notary in the United States. It would also require the use of tamper-evident technology in electronic notarizations, and help prevent fraud through the use of multifactor authentication.
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“ALTA continues to support the bipartisan SECURE Notarization Act,” the company said in a statement. “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.”
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, many states issued temporary executive orders to authorize the suspension of its requirement that the principal persons involved in notarization physically appear before a notary, and began allowing notarizes to view the singing of a paper document through an audiovisual communication tool.
Adoption of remote online notarization then soared 547% in 2020, with Florida, Texas and Virginia reporting the most RON usage in that timeframe. Usage in the Midwestern U.S. has also risen, ALTA reported.
The number of title and settlement companies offering digital closings increased 228% compared to 2019, according to ALTA’s 2021 Digital Closing Survey. The survey of 300 title professionals showed that 46% offered digital closings in 2020 during the pandemic. Prior to the health crisis, a 2019 survey showed that only 14% of companies offered digital closings two years ago.