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As Dallas County lags in Census participation, deadline changed again

On Wednesday afternoon, shortly before 1 p.m., the U.S. Census Bureau announced another change to the Census deadline, declaring that Thursday, Oct. 15 will be the final day for Americans to complete the 2020 Census.

The last-minute deadline change comes right after the U.S. Census Bureau announced that the deadline for American’s to complete the Census would be extended to Oct. 31.

“This extra time will make a difference as Alabama households have more time to be counted,” said Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) Director Kenneth Boswell said last Monday when the extension was announced. “It takes a matter of minutes to determine the future of our state. Let’s use this time to cement our tally and influence all that depends on this final count.”

“Over 99.9 percent of households in Alabama have been accounted for in the 2020 Census, as have many other U.S. states,” read the announcement issued by The U.S. Census Bureau Wednesday. “As such, field data collection and other census-related operations, such as self-response, are ending nationwide earlier than expected.”

Dallas County Extension Office Coordinator Callie Nelson presented a Census Update to the Dallas County Commission on Monday evening.

With a 54.7 percent self-response rate, Dallas County ranks 48 out of 67 Alabama Counties for the Census participation, According to Nelson.

For several months, local officials have pleaded the importance of filling out the Census.

In Alabama, it is estimated that each completed census represents about $1,600 in federal funding.

“Not filling out the Census is leaving money on the table,” said District 4 Dallas County Commissioner Larry Nickles at Monday’s Commission meeting.

Anyone who hasn’t completed the Census has until 5 p.m. Thursday to do so.

The census can be completed online at www.my2020census.com or over the phone at 844-330-2020.

“This is the last call for all Alabamians to step up and be counted,” added Boswell. “We are asking our state to take six minutes of their time today and tomorrow to participate, as we want to ensure – without any doubt – that we have the most complete count statewide possible.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which began speaking out on the decision Tuesday, when the U.S. Supreme Court issued its order halting the census as litigation continues working its way through the U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, called the decision “another serious blow” to democracy.

“[T]he Supreme Court issued yet another serious blow to our democratic system of government by ignoring the Constitution’s requirement that the Department of Commerce conduct a complete and accurate census count,” said SPLC Action Fund Deputy Legal Director Nancy Abudu. “As Justice Sotomayor emphasized in her written dissent, ‘[t]he harms caused by rushing this year’s census count are irreparable.  And [communities] will suffer their lasting impact for at least the next 10 years.’ Those impacts will be felt across the board – in lost education, transportation and healthcare funding essential for communities, as well as in diminished political representation for their interests.”