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California Signatures of Public Officials Act

The official’s facsimile signature has the same legal effect as his or her manual signature.

By Chris Micheli, July 20, 2022 4:10 pm

California has numerous formal acts in statute. Government Code Title 1, Division 6, Chapter 6 provides the Uniform Facsimile Signatures of Public Officials Act, which is contained in Sections 5500 to 5506. Chapter 6 was added in 1959 by Chapter 1061.

Section 5500 defines the following terms: “public security”; “instrument of payment”; “authorized officer”; and, “facsimile signature.” Section 5501 provides that any authorized officer may, after filing with the Secretary of State his or her manual signature certified by him or her under oath, execute or cause to be executed with a facsimile signature in lieu of his or her manual signature. Upon compliance with this section by the authorized officer, his or her facsimile signature has the same legal effect as his or her manual signature.

Section 5502 provides that, when the seal of this State or any of its departments, agencies, or other instrumentalities, or of any county, city, or public district, is required in the execution of a public security or instrument of payment, the authorized officer may cause the seal to be printed, engraved, stamped, or otherwise placed in facsimile thereon. The facsimile seal has the same legal effect as the impression of the seal.

Section 5503 specifies that any person who with intent to defraud uses on a public security or an instrument of payment a facsimile signature or any reproduction of an authorized officer or seal of the state or any departments or agencies, as well as of local governments, is guilty of a felony.

Section 5504 requires the act to be so construed as to effectuate its general purpose to make uniform the law of states which enact it. Section 5505 names the act. Section 5506 provides a severability clause.

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