“Completing the U.S. Census is Crucial”
All around us, life as we knew it is being canceled, postponed or suspended. On St. Patrick’s Day, there was no parade in Boston. Sitting at my kitchen table that evening, I watched the Dropkick Murphys livestream their annual concert with no audience. I associate them with public celebrations (and duck boats). It was a strange experience. April is near. The Boston Marathon will be held in the fall. And in Concord, there will be no celebration on Patriot’s Day. The world feels upside down.
Every ten years since 1790, the federal government has undertaken a census. The requirement to do so is specified in the Constitution. The U.S. Census Bureau conducts its work under the authority of Title 13 of the U. S. Code, which governs the conduct of the census, and provides strong protection for the information gathered. This law requires a tabulation of the total population and sets the date of the census: the first day of April. It cannot be postponed.
This decennial Census takes a snapshot of who we are in these United States. Results are used to make decisions at all levels of government, to delineate political representation, to distribute funds and to design programs. Businesses and scholars use the results to plan for the future. Historians use them to delve into the past. Census counts determine funding for libraries, schools, health clinics, public transportation, programs for disabled veterans, Head Start, and family nutrition programs for the next ten years. Ten years of funding is an entire childhood.
Across our nation, the League of Women Voters has been at work for many months to support the Census. The League of Women Voters of Concord-Carlisle has had an active Complete Count Committee since early last fall, convening information sessions and working on outreach materials. You may see some of our signs sprouting along roadways shortly.
The effort to combat COVID-19 and the need to reduce interpersonal interaction create an exceptional challenge for the U.S. Census. However, this year, for the first time, the Census offers three ways to complete the form while maintaining the recommended personal separation: online (via computer or smartphone), by phone, or by paper form. By now, most households should have received an invitation from the US Census to respond, using a unique code for each address. It takes about ten minutes to complete. Everyone in a household should be counted, including newborns.
You can respond online to the Census here: https://my2020census.gov/ and find other options (including phone) here: https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/respond.html. Help is available over the phone in 12 languages including English, and there are video and print guides in 59 languages online. You can find more information on the U.S. Census Bureau website. Against the turbulence of our present, it may seem mundane, but the Census is vital to the functioning of our democracy. Complete yours. Encourage your community -- friends, neighbors, colleagues, and family --to complete theirs. It is quick, easy and important. Everyone counts!
Julie Rohwein, president
League of Women Voters of Concord-Carlisle
President [at] lwvcc.org
Past President Corner posts
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- What Lies Ahead This Fall
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