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Technology not decreasing roles of notaries

By LYNN LOFTON

Traditionally a notary public can be found in banks and law offices to certify the signing of paper documents. But are these services still needed in today’s paperless world? Yes, according to the Secretary of State’s office, the commissioning office for notaries in Mississippi. As technology becomes more and more prevalent, the role of the notary public continues to be a vital function in transacting business. In figures released by the Secretary of State’s office, there are 37,229 current, active notaries in the state.

“Commissions have not decreased in recent years,” said Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann. “Notaries continue to play an important and unique role. Despite ever-changing technology, hard-copy documents need to be authenticated and the presence of witnesses verified. Notaries make these things possible efficiently and with limited expense to businesses and individuals.”

Commissions for notaries are granted through the Secretary of State’s office after an individual files an application with a $25 fee, a $5,000 surety bond and the oath of office and the application is approved by the governor. The person seeking to become a notary public must be at least 21 years of age, a Mississippi resident for more than 30 days and comply with all statutes governing the state’s notary acts. The process to obtain the commission normally takes less than a week if all steps are followed upon application.

“The Secretary of State’s office must assign a date for the notary public commission to begin and the applying person then must obtain his or her official seal or stamp showing the county of residence,” said Leah Rupp Smith, assistant secretary of state of communications. “Mississippi notaries have statewide jurisdiction and may notarize documents in any county although their seal must show their county of residence.”

Moving to another state terminates the commission. Under normal circumstances, the commission expires four years from the date it was issued. To renew a commission, notaries should file a new application and oath within 60 days prior to the expiration. A new bond is submitted when the application is approved.

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