FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jan 11, 2022
Contact: JoDonn Chaney, (573) 526-0949
Jefferson City, Mo. — Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, looking back on last year, published a list of major accomplishments his office completed in 2021.
For the fifth consecutive year, Ashcroft reached his goal of visiting all 114 counties in Missouri. The secretary met with county clerks and other local election officials, visited schools, toured libraries, and met with business owners and farmers. “I love visiting every county – McDonald to Clark, Atchison to Pemiscot – to talk with Missourians about ways we can make our state even better,” Ashcroft said.
The Secretary of State’s office encompasses several divisions including: Administrative Rules, Archives, Business Services, Elections, Securities, and the State Library.
Last year, the Administrative Rules Division – helped over 150 state agencies through the rule-making process while answering questions from the public pertaining to specific rules. Accessibility to rules and rule changes is available through the SOS website or through email notifications.
The Business Services Division – which handles the creation and maintenance of all business entities doing business in Missouri – completed 430,782 business filings, 183,647 uniform commercial code (UCC) filings and processed 11,870 new notary applications and 13,101 renewal applications for 2021. Staff throughout the state handled over 134,000 calls pertaining to corporations, notary and UCC. In conjunction with the IT Division, a new business-friendly registration system was created and implemented to better serve individuals doing business in the state. After months of development, the system went online in August with no state general-revenue funds used.
The Elections Division – despite the challenges of a pandemic, filed 83 initiative petitions and two referendum petitions. On September 28, National Voter Registration Day, 3,391 voter registrations were received.
The State Archives Division – led the way in several bicentennial projects while continuing to be a valuable research tool for Missourians. The archives website was searched 16.7 million times for genealogical and other historical records, and over 6.9 million images were scanned by records management staff to help make more records accessible to the public.
The Missouri State Library Division – awarded over $3.5 million in federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grants for 208 projects that helped libraries in the state better serve their patrons. In addition, the state library administered over $3 million in American Relief Plan Act to help necessary library services continue during the pandemic. The Wolfner Talking Book and Braille Library, which serves the visually impaired and other print-disabled Missourians, converted all patrons to a duplication-on-demand service model that allows patrons to receive multiple books on one cartridge instead of just one book at a time. This new service has increased the number of books and other items borrowed by 21%. Volunteers – who donated over 3,700 hours – and staff produced 89 new audiobook titles that were recorded and uploaded to the National Library Service’s BARD website for patrons’ enjoyment. A second recording studio was added late in the year to better facilitate the growing demand for the program without using taxpayer dollars.
The Securities Division – seeks to protect Missouri investors. This year the division’s Enforcement Section reviewed nearly 200 complaints. This resulted in 58 new investigations and 16 administrative actions. Many of these actions ordered unlawful business entities and individuals to stop activities that could fraudulently harm unsuspecting Missourians. Additionally, the actions of the division resulted in the collection of $400,643 in restitution, civil penalties and payments into the Secretary of State’s Investor Education and Protection Fund.
“The secretary of state’s office, through all of its divisions, works hard to make sure Missourians are well taken care of,” Ashcroft said. “2021, though challenging, was a successful year with many accomplishments. I commend my staff for a job well-done.”
Visit www.sos.mo.gov to learn more about the Office of the Missouri Secretary of State.