By DEVIN PAVLOU, Alabama Daily News
Gov. Kay Ivey on Wednesday again stressed the importance of Alabama residents completing the 2020 census.
“It is an unprecedented time in Alabama; however, we must remain committed to census participation,” Ivey said in a press release.
The coronavirus has put strain on most Alabama residents, but Ivey said that it shouldn’t hold anyone back from completing the questionnaire.
“The COVID-19 pandemic shows the importance of state representation on a national level,” Ivey said. “If we lose a representative due to a low census count, that would mean one less voice advocating for Alabama’s needs during critical times in the future.”
Alabama needs to have at least the 72% participation rate seen in the 2010 census if it wants to have the same amount of congressional representation it currently has. The state could also lose millions of dollars in census-driven community funding.
The governor stressed that participation in the 2020 census would not impact whether if individual would receive a federal stimulus check. Under federal law, information gathered from individuals by the U.S. Census Bureau is confidential.
Alabama residents can participate in the 2020 Census by going to my2020census.gov, by phone at 1-(800)-330-2020 or by paper form mailed to them.
The virus’s spread has forced the U.S. Census Bureau to suspend field operations for a month, from mid-March to mid-April, when the hiring process would be ramping up for up to 500,000 temporary census takers, the Associated Press reported Wednesday. The bureau also has delayed the start of counts for the homeless and people living in group quarters like college dorms and nursing homes, and has pushed back the deadline for wrapping up the head count from the end of July to mid-August.
“Census participation is not merely a count; it’s a roadmap for our future. Now more than ever, the urgency of an accurate count is vital to Alabama,” Ivey said. “Help us create a future for Alabama that is one with proper consideration in times like this. Please fill out your census today — our future depends on it.”
The Census Bureau is required by federal statute to send the president the counts that will be used to carve up congressional districts — a process known as apportionment — and draw state legislative districts by Dec. 31, the AP reported. Some groups are suggesting that the deadline be pushed back, though it’s currently mandated by federal law.