In 2018, Vermont passed legislation (Act 160, H.526) that provides the statutory framework required to permit remote online notarizations (hereafter, RONs) in Vermont. The effective date of the legislation is July 1, 2019, however, the law specifically prohibits the use of RONs until the Vermont Secretary of State has adopted rules and prescribed standards for practice in this area.
The Vermont Secretary of State is engaged in the rule-making process, but there is no information available as to when that process will be completed. Accordingly, at this time, RONs are not permitted for use in Vermont transactions. This Bulletin will be updated once the rules have been adopted and further guidance is provided.
The relevant portions of the enabling legislation are as follows:
26 V.S.A. §5323. RULES.
(a) The Office, with the advice of the advisor appointees, may adopt rules to implement this chapter. The rules may: …(6) prescribe standards for remote online notarization, including standards for credential analysis, the process through which a third person affirms the identity of an individual, the methods for communicating through a secure communication link, the means by which the remote notarization is certified, and the form of notice to be appended disclosing the fact that the notarization was completed remotely on any document acknowledged through remote online notarization.
(b) Rules adopted regarding the performance of notarial acts with respect to electronic records and remote online notarization may not require, or accord greater legal status or effect to, the implementation or application of a specific technology or technical specification. In adopting, amending, or repealing rules regarding notarial acts with respect to electronic records and remote online notarization, the Office shall consider, as far as is consistent with this chapter: (1) the most recent standards regarding electronic record and remote online notarization promulgated by national bodies, such as the National Association for Secretaries of State; (2) standards, practices, and customs of other jurisdictions that substantially enact this chapter; and (3) the views of governmental officials and entities and other interested persons.
(c) Neither electronic notarization nor remote online notarization shall be allowed until the Secretary of State has adopted standards in these areas.
A full text of ACT 160 can be viewed at https://legislature.vermont.gov/Documents/2018/Docs/ACTS/ACT160/ACT160%20As%20Enacted.pd
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