Ohio Auditor clarifies use of electronic signature on official documents


Ohio Auditor of State has clarified that electronic signatures can be used on checks, warrants, vouchers and other documents for the payment of money during the pandemic. Additional information, which is provided courtesy of a recent Ohio Township Association Legislative Alert, can be found below.

The Auditor of State has offered the following clarification for use of electronic signatures during the pandemic:

Q: Can elected officials sign resolutions and other official documents electronically during the COVID-19 emergency?

A: Ohio Revised Code Chapter 9 allows for facsimile signatures on checks, warrants, vouchers, and other documents for the payment of money. The Code does not address electronic or other signatures on resolutions and actions taken during public and official meetings. Since Section 12 of House Bill 197 states that "any resolution, rule, or formal action of any kind shall have the same effect as if it had occurred during an open meeting or hearing of the public body," these documents are official and valid in the same way they would be at an in-person meeting. Under O.R.C. 1306.06 a signature may not be denied legal effect solely because it is in electronic form. O.R.C. 1306.06(D) further states "[i]f al law requires a signature, an electronic signature satisfies the law." Therefore, officials may electronically sign official documents. It is strongly recommended that local officials notify their clerk in writing when an electronic signature is allowed to be used on an official document.

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