COVID-19: Maine Modifies Notarization and Acknowledgement Requirements
On Wednesday, April 8, 2020, Governor Janet Mills issued an Executive Order suspending the requirement that a person whose oath is being taken be physically present at the same location as the notary public and any witnesses, with certain exceptions. Additionally, a number of conditions must be met in order to perform remote notarial services. It is important to note that the order only applies to the requirement to appear in person; all other requirements under Maine law pertaining to the taking of sworn statements and acknowledgements remain in effect.
- Both the signatory and the notary must be physically present in Maine when performing the notarial act
- The notarization must allow for direct contemporaneous interaction between the parties via two-way audio-video communication technology
- The signatory must initial each page of the document and send an electronic image as well as the hard copy to the witnesses (if any) and notary
- Any document that is required to be notarized “in the presence and hearing” of a signatory, and is compliant with this order, will be deemed to have been notarized in the presence and hearing of the signatory
- Remote notarization will not be deemed invalid or impaired if one of these conditions is not met, so long as the notarization was performed in substantial compliance with the order
- There are a number of other conditions set forth in the order and the secretary of state may also issue additional guidance
The order does not apply to the following notarial acts:
- Solemnizing marriages
- Administering oaths to circulators of state or local direct initiative or referendum petitions and nomination petitions of candidates for electoral office
- Absentee ballots in state and local elections
The order terminates 30 days after the termination of the COVID-19 state of emergency, unless sooner amended or rescinded.
Pierce Atwood is equipped to use the necessary technology and can assist clients with determining their technology needs.
For questions or concerns on this latest executive order, please contact Pierce Atwood attorney Molly Liddell.