COVID-19 Update: Service of Process and Notarization

COVID-19 Update: Service of Process and Notarization

Colorado Secretary of State Operations:

The Colorado Secretary of State’s office has suspended in-person services. Most of the Secretary of State’s services are available online. Any filings that must be submitted in paper and not electronically should be sent via the United States Postal Service only. No other mail carrier will be received in a timely manner due to delivery limitations. Customers can call 303-894-2200 with questions.

Remote Notarizations in Colorado:

Governor Polis’s Executive order D2020 019 temporarily allows remote notarizations but will expire on May 30, 2020, unless further extended by Executive Order. The Colorado Secretary of State has enacted guidance as to the operation of remote notarizations.

The guidance does not allow Notary Publics to perform remote notarizations for circulator’s affidavits required for initiatives and candidate petitions. It requires remote notarizations to be conducted by only a currently commissioned Colorado Notary Public with active status in the Secretary of State’s online database. Remote notarizations may only be conducted with individuals located within Colorado, requiring that both the Notary Public and the remote individual be in Colorado.

The guidelines require that the Notary Public witness the act of signing a document in “real-time,” meaning that the Notary Public must be able to see and hear the remote individual substantially simultaneously and without interruption or disconnection. The Notary Public must audio-video record the notarization and securely store the recording for ten years following the act. If the remote individual seeking notarization does not agree to be recorded, then a remote notarization cannot be conducted.

Recording of the Notary Act:

 When conducting a remote notarization, the Notary Public must tell the remote individual that the notarization will be recorded and detail the recording storage. The recording must contain the Notary’s name; the date and time of the notarization; a description of all the documents involved; the remote individual’s name whose signature is subject to the notarization; the identify of any required witnesses; and the method(s) of identification, such as the Colorado driver’s license of both the witness and the remote individual.

Identification:

Identification of individuals may include both personal knowledge or a credible witness.

If the Notary Public relies on a credible witness to identify the remote individual the Notary Public and credible witness must make the following statements: (1) how the Notary Public knows the credible witness and for long the Notary Public has known the credible witness or (2) describe the evidence of identity which includes Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts (RULONA)-authorized government-issued identification. The credible witness must explain how the credible witness knows the remote individual. The remote individual must state that they are knowingly and voluntarily acting.

After the Notary Act has occurred:

Any notarization of a will requires the Notary Public follow Rule 5.2.9(c) of the Notary Program Rules.

If the record is not a will, the remote individual must transmit a legible copy of the record by fax, email, or other electronic method to the Notary Public on the same date as video-audio recording of the act. Immediately after the Notary Public receives the legible copy the notary must notarize the copy and send the notarized record back to the remote individual with the Notary Public’s certificate.

The remote notarization requires the Notary Public use the certificates authorized by RULONA sections 24-21-515 and -516, C.R.S. The certificate must indicate that the Notary Public performed the act using audio-visual technology.

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