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 Facsimile Signatures

What are Facsimile Signatures?

The actual legal basis for using a signature stamp -- a facsimile of an official's actual signature -- is specifically authorized under the Uniform Facsimile Signatures of Public Officials Act only for executing public securities and instruments of payment. This act permits the authorized state, county and local officials to eliminate manual signing of checks, for example.

There is a common misconception that once a facsimile signature certificate is filed, an officer's signature by stamp or other device will have legal authority on any document to which it is applied. The law has made specific provision for the use of stamped signatures in specific cases not governed by the Act. For example, the Legislature authorized ballot commissioners to stamp their signatures on absentee ballots, which in large counties are sent to voters by the hundreds. However, the Facsimile Signatures Act does not give an officer blanket authority to apply a stamp in lieu of an original signature with the assurance the courts will find that a legally binding signature. As a practical matter, courts have routinely accepted stamped signatures on certified documents, but it is unclear how this issue would be resolved in a challenge of the practice.

Who Files Facsimile Signature Certificates?

Under the Act, any authorized officer may use a facsimile signature on instruments of payment, and the Act defines authorized officer quite broadly as " any official of this state or of any of its departments, agencies, boards, commissions or other instrumentalities or of any of its public corporations, political subdivisions, municipal corporations or other governmental units whose signature to a public security or instrument of payment is required or permitted."

While all of these authorized officers may lawfully use facsimile signatures for the purposes defined in the Act, they must first execute a facsimile signature certificate and file it with the Secretary of State.

Facsimile Signature Certificate Forms

Select the appropriate form and fill it out on-screen using the free Acrobat Reader.  If you have not used the Reader before, see Acrobat Reader Help.

For State Officials
For County & Municipal Officials

Related Laws

The Uniform Facsimile Signatures of Public Officials Act specifies the requirements for use of facsimile signatures. Following those provisions are individual sections which refer use the term "facsimile signature," but do not in every case refer to signatures under the Uniform Act. To search other parts of the Code, visit the Legislature's web site and select WV Code.

Requesting Information or Copies

If you need copies of facsimile signature certificates on file, please specify the title of the official, the county or city, if applicable, and the name of the individual.

  To request information by e-mail about facsimile signatures, click the icon.  Requests which require an extensive search of older records may be subject to search fees.    Click here to request information by email about facsimile signatures