E-Signatures in Action: Minnesota’s Secretary of State

December 7th, 2010

Registering, amending, merging and dissolving a businesses is an important activity.

So, it’s significant that the Minnesota Secretary of State has not only embraced e-signatures, but gone above and beyond the requirements of other businesses and government entities.

They accept:

  • a typed name at the bottom of the document in the usual space for the signature
  • a reproduction of an actual signature
  • a mark in lieu of a signature
  • a printed signature either hand or machine-printed
  • a stamp of a signature
  • a digital signature of whatever kind

It’s the last sentence that is significant. They will accept a digital signature of whatever kind.  I don’t think that the organization that manages the state’s businesses would risk itself, if it were not 100 percent confident that e-signatures were enforceable.

The core component of any contract is 1. An offer, 2. Acceptance 3. Consideration. So, answering an email with “I accept” is considered a contract.

The reason why people seek legal signature tools is for an additional layer of security – to prevent repudiation. Repudiation is where someone says, “I didn’t sign this” or “the document has changed since I signed it.”  What the MN Sec of State’s actions mean is that they are confident that they can prevent repudiation with a stamp, reproduction, or digital signature of any kind.  That’s a vote of confidence for electronic signatures.


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