Are Electronic Signatures Valid?
The validity of electronic signatures for all manner of documents is pretty straightforward. United States’ law is clear in the acceptance of electronic signatures as signatures as valid as “pen and ink” signatures. Both the Electronic Signatures in Global and International Commerce Act (the “E-Sign Act”) and The Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA) specifically hold that electronic signatures are as valid as pen and ink signatures. The E-Sign Act was made law in 2000 to advance e-commerce and made e-signatures equally valid as handwritten signatures in commercial transactions.
Where state law is silent regarding electronic signatures, or states have made modifications to state law modifying the UETA in a manner that conflicts with the E-Sign Act, the E-Sign Act controls. Additional support comes from UETA, which predates the E-Sign Act by one year. UETA was adopted by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws in order to make state laws regarding electronic signatures consistent. This was accomplished by drafting a model that states could adopt as-is, or generally follow. This framework, adopted by 47 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, makes electronic signatures equivalently valid as handwritten signatures. The three states that have not adopted the specific UETA model framework (Illinois, New York and Washington), have their own laws pertaining to and permitting electronic signatures.
In black and white, the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act states that:
“signature, contract, or other record relating to such transaction may not be denied legal effect, validity, or enforceability solely because it is in electronic form; and a contract relating to such transaction may not be denied legal effect, validity, or enforceability solely because an electronic signature or electronic record was used in its formation”
This is clear blank letter law, equivalent provisions to which exist in every state, that electronic signatures are valid – as valid as a pen and ink signature.