Notaries headed toward endangered list

In the not-so-distant past, the stamp of the notary public was all but ubiquitous on important documents. But notaries are vanishing faster than an endangered species.

In 2007, the Indiana Secretary of State’s Office logged 22,840 expirations but only 17,636 renewals or new notaries—a 22-percent decline.

The nosedive accelerated to 30 percent last year, and so far this year it’s running at 41 percent.

Jerry Bonnett, chief legal counsel at the office, says the type of authentification notaries do is falling out of fashion. Many companies now accept photo ID or confirm over the telephone or Internet.

“Notary publics were more popular in the days when companies and people relied heavily on postal mail,” Bonnett says. He adds that there is no indication that constituents or businesses are having trouble finding notaries.

How do you feel? Is it too early to start feeling nostalgic?

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