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Do I need to check the identity of additional document witnesses?

I was asked to notarize a document that requires the signatures of two witnesses. Do I need to check their ID and record the witnesses’ information in my journal? — Y.R., Florida

It depends whether you are notarizing a paper document as a Florida Notary Public or witnessing a signature on an electronic record as an Online Notary Public. Typically, witness signatures on paper documents are not notarized. You can tell if the witnesses’ signatures are required to be notarized when the notarial certificate indicates so, or if the witnesses ask you to notarize their signatures.

If, however, as an Online Notary Public you are a witnessing signature on an electronic record under F.S. 117.285, the “witnessing” is considered a notarial act that requires the Online Notary to identify the witnesses in compliance with state law and keep an electronic journal of the notarial act.

Hotline answers are based on the laws in the state where the question originated and may not reflect the laws of other states. If in doubt, always refer to your own state statutes. – The Editors

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3 Comments

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Zenaida Aguilar

28 Mar 2022

In California, are we able to notarize an electronic signature? Per active an “online notary public”?

National Notary Association

30 Mar 2022

Hello. California has adopted a modified version of the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (CC 1633.1 through 1633.17), including the following provision recognizing the legal validity of electronic signatures used by Notaries: “(a) If law requires that a signature be notarized, the requirement is satisfied with respect to an electronic signature if an electronic record includes, in addition to the electronic signature to be notarized, the electronic signature of a notary public together with all other information required to be included in a notarization by other applicable law. “(b) In a transaction, if a law requires that a statement be signed under penalty of perjury, the requirement is satisfied with respect to an electronic signature, if an electronic record includes, in addition to the electronic signature, all the information as to which the declaration pertains together with a declaration under penalty of perjury by the person who submits the electronic signature that the information is true and correct” (CC 1633.11). California does NOT authorize its Notaries to perform remote notarizations. Regarding electronic notarization, the following was posted on the CA SOS website July 19, 2016 (https://www.sos.ca.gov/notary/customer-alerts): “California notaries public are authorized under current law to perform electronic notarizations as long as all the requirements for a traditional paper-based notarial act are met, including the use of a seal for all but two specific documents used in real estate transactions. California law requires a person to appear personally before a notary public to obtain notarial acts like acknowledgments or jurats. This means the party must be physically present before the notary public. A video image or other form of non- physical representation is not a personal appearance in front of a notary public under California state law. Technology solutions from private companies offering online notarial services do not meet the requirements for notarization by California notaries public”

Sylvia J Johnson

30 Mar 2022

A notary in Texas said that I electronically signed a deed on my home and the Garland Police Department 'DETECTIVES' took that signature as an authenticated signature. Although, I myself am a Licensed Notary and stated that I, Sylvia Jean Johnson, did not sign this did, and I did find out that there are 4 'Sylvia Jean Johnson's (Spanish) within my 75040 Zip Code. Where do I go to fight this injustice? The world is cruel and it seems as if our Legal World take side and does not stand up for 'TRUTH and JUSTICE'.

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