State government has run on paper for centuries. Millions of legal records are kept by the Secretary of State and other state agencies. They must be read, checked and handled by people. Soon, a small annual fee for a digital certificate from ARCANVS, the issuing company, will streamline dealings with the state.
Scanners in the Secretary of State's offices foretell the move to an electronic agency. Digital signatures, or certificates, will allow individuals and companies to do legal business with the state. The advantage is efficiency.
"Your record is on your computer instantly, and you've got it there and really that's better than a paper file," says George Jeter, spokesman for the Secretary of State's office.
"I think in a few years this will be a regular way of doing business," Jeter says. "It's a better way to do business than putting something in the mail and waiting two or three days and hope it gets through."
Agencies chosen to issue digital certificates are chosen carefully, especially when it comes to security.
"You've got to have all kinds of documentation as to how good your security is, how good your encryption is and how good your company is financially," Jeter says.
Will you be able to get an auto registration online? Perhaps, in the future.
The state has no plans to do away with paper entirely, and traditional signatures will continue to be accepted.