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Downey, Houghtaling and Swain Bill to Allow Notaries to Work Remotely Heads to Governor

(TRENTON) – A notary public would be able to perform certain notarial work remotely under legislation approved Thursday by the Senate, 34-0. It passed the Assembly on Monday, 63-0, and now heads to the Governor’s desk.

The measure (A-3864), sponsored by Assembly Democrats Joann Downey (D-Monmouth), Eric Houghtaling (D-Monmouth) and Lisa Swain (D-Bergen, Passaic) would allow people who meet certain criteria to appear remotely before a notary public using communication technology. A notary public would be authorized to perform a notarial act for a remotely located resident if the notary has: personal knowledge of their identity; satisfactory knowledge of the person’s identity by oath or affirmation from a credible witness; and uses at least two different types of identity as proof to obtain satisfactory evidence of the person.

The notary public would also be required to make an audio-visual recording of the exchange and retain the recording for at least ten years, among other security measures.

The sponsors released the following joint statement:

“During these uncertain times, it’s important that we find creative ways to allow essential services to continue. Notary services currently must be performed in-person in New Jersey. With the outbreak of COVID-19, it may become more challenging for people to get documents notarized and move forward with legal and financial transactions if residents need to self-isolate or notary offices close.

“It’s time we join 15 other states in modernizing notary practices. By allowing notary services to be performed online, we will ensure necessary clerical transactions can move forward during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.”