Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft highlighted the importance of participating in the state's elections and funding for the state's public libraries as he concluded his third consecutive year visiting each of Missouri's 114 counties.

Ashcroft has made it a priority to visit each county in the state to engage in open discussions with county officials and talk with voters to increase participation in the state’s elections.

Ashcroft encouraged election participation when he visited Phelps County and met with the County Clerk in June, and on Tuesday Ashcroft offered to travel to legislators’ districts this fall to hold voter registration events. 

“Almost three years ago, I swore an oath to fairly administer Missouri’s elections. I believe a key part of that is fostering good relationships with the elected officials running them and talking to voters,” Ashcroft said.

He said, while administering elections is an important piece of the secretary of state’s duties, assisting public libraries in Missouri by awarding federal and state funds is also pivotal.

In April, Ashcroft announced the spotlight on literacy grant was awarded to Rolla Public Library. The long-term grant totaled $7,457, for the library to hold a literacy program for individuals with special needs, such as mobility, developmental and physical impairments.

The Missouri State Library approved 126 grant applications for the 2019 fiscal year, which totaled $1.32 million in federal awards that Ashcroft’s office distributed to libraries throughout the state.

Rolla Public Library was one of 34 libraries to receive a long-term grant, funded by the Library Services and Technology Act for the 2019 fiscal year.

“Libraries actualize potential,” Ashcroft said. “There is no limit to your knowledge if you make use of your public library, and I am so grateful to have a role in promoting them. Libraries have become community centers, offering diverse workforce education and development options and providing entrepreneurs the chance to use the library’s technology and space to create new business ideas.”

Ashcroft also identified his support for electronic notarization when he visited Columbia and spoke to the Columbia Board of Realtors at Stephens College on the topic. He called it a much-need modernization of the office. 

Ashcroft was elected Missouri's Secretary of State in the 2016 general election.