Letter, Opinion

Fill out the Census form, the state relies on your response for funding

Dear Editor,

The League of Women Voters urges everyone to participate in the 2020 Census, now underway.

The U.S. Constitution requires the federal government count everyone living in the country every 10 years. Every household should complete a Census form (either online, by mail, or by phone) by Oct. 31, 2020. Participating in the Census is our right and responsibility.

Census data shape the future of our community. Census data determine our political power, representation in Congress, and funding for education, transportation, healthcare, and so much more. Key federal programs rely on data and allocations derived from the Census, including: Medicaid, Medicare Part B, SNAP, Highway Planning and Construction, Section 8, Title I Grants, Special Education Grants, CHIP, and Head Start. Census data are also used for apportionment of Congressional and legislative seats, determining who represents you.

Your privacy is protected. Under the law, Census data can only be used for statistical purposes. Personal information cannot be disclosed for 72 years; Census Bureau staff who share personal information are subject to a $250,000 fine and/or up to five years in federal prison.

Recent reports show that Vermont has one of the lowest US Census responses rates in the country. [Gov. Scott said last week that only 108,000 Vermont households, about 42% had completed the survey, which puts us near the bottom of the list nationally. 152,000 homes have not yet filled out the form.]

You can go 2020census.gov and fill out your Census form in a matter of minutes.  An accurate count is essential for allocating government resources and allocating legislative seats. Fill out the Census form today!

Catherine Rader, League of Women Voters of Vermont

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