Cortes Recognized for Trailblazing e-Notarization Initiative

HARRISBURG – Secretary of the Commonwealth Pedro A. Cortés was recognized for being the driving force behind Pennsylvania’s historic electronic notarization initiative. Cortés received the prestigious 2007 March Fong Eu Award from the National Notary Association at its annual conference in Los Angeles.

The association gives the award each year to the individual who has done the most to improve the standards, image, quality and effectiveness of the notary public office.

“e-Notarization is the way of the future,” said Cortés. “It facilitates and promotes business transactions, which enhances economic development.”

The award recognizes the Department of State as a pioneer in the field of notarizations. Pennsylvania implemented the first operational statewide electronic notarization initiative in the nation in January 2006. Since then, e-notarization has proven valuable in promoting e-commerce because it provides a secure, effective and expeditious system for the filing of real estate documents with participating county recorders of deeds.

The initiative started in Chester, Lancaster, Philadelphia and Westmoreland counties. Berks and Montgomery counties joined later, with seven others providing identity verification support.

Electronic notarization propelled Pennsylvania to the forefront of the notary public industry, providing a model for other states to follow.

The association launched the March Fong Eu Award in 1979 when it selected former California Secretary of State Dr. March Fong Eu as its first recipient.

In the May 2007 The National Notary magazine, the association also included Cortés in its list of “The 50 Most Influential People in Notarization in the Last 50 Years.”

Gov. Edward G. Rendell appointed Cortés secretary of the commonwealth in 2003. In addition to overseeing the practice of notary, the Department of State administrates corporate filings, charitable regulation, professional licensure, boxing and elections. More information about the department is available at www.dos.state.pa.us.

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