TRENTON, NJ --  Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo (D-Mercer, Middlesex) is working to help elderly and physically challenged individuals who are unable to write with secure alternatives to a handwritten signature.

"Allowing fingerprints and identifying marks to be used as legal signatures will remove this stigma and provide those who are unable to write with safe, secure options for signing checks, voting records and other important documents," said DeAngelo of his legislative proposal that was approved unanimously Monday by the New Jersey General Assembly.

These marks could also be used as a written signature for voting purposes.

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"Many people don't think twice when they are asked to sign a document, but for a person who is unable to write, the process can be challenging and potentially embarrassing," DeAngelo said.  "Under current law, residents who are unable to write can put an 'X' as their signature, a practice that began in the mid-1800s when many people could not read or write. As a result, today many feel an 'X' stigmatizes elderly or disabled individuals as illiterate or uneducated."    

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