Jeramey Jannene

Lt. Gov Mandela Barnes Wants You To Fill Out Census

Failure to do so will cost $13,000 per resident in next decade. Deadline is September 30th.

By - Sep 21st, 2020 03:08 pm
Mandela Barnes.

Mandela Barnes.

The pandemic has made the United States Census challenging. Many households were in crisis as the initial mailers went out this spring and now workers going door-to-door have struggled to get in touch with those that didn’t respond.

As a result, Milwaukee and other communities with below average response rates could be shortchanged on federal funding for everything from roads to health care over the next decade. They could also be shortchanged legislativelly.

Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes would like to prevent that.

“Fill the Census out now, it’s quick, it’s easy and it’s confidential,” said Barnes in an interview. “It’s a safe and secure way to support your community.

Respondents don’t need to find the original letter to respond. They can go to the Census website to respond online or call 844-330-2020 to respond by phone.

Held once every 10 years, the resulting count will be used to allocate $675 billion in federal funds each year.

“The Census is important for us all to care about because it helps to determine the allocation of resources and helps us paint a clear picture of what our communities look like,” he said.

A 2018 study found that Wisconsin was the sixth biggest loser when it came to undercounting. The state lost $1,338 per person from federal medical programs in the 2015 fiscal year as a result of undercounting. The city’s Complete Count Committee estimates the city loses $1,600 annually for each non-respondent.

“Right now we are down to where we were ten years ago,” said Barnes.

Wisconsin’s self-response rate is 71.8 percent, good for second-best behind only Minnesota. But when coupled with door-to-door knocking, the state falls to 11th place with 98.3 percent.

Many of those missing respondents are in Milwaukee. The city’s self-response rate is more than 14 percent below the state average. Falling short of the state rate would curtail the city’s political influence.

“[Filling out your Census] is step one to fair maps,” said Barnes. “Census tracts are the building blocks to legislative boundaries.”

This decade’s census faces another problem. President Donald Trump‘s administration has sought to end the count on September 30th, giving census worker less time to complete the count. Census workers may not be able to reach every non-respondent in Milwaukee County. Workers have only been able to successfully visit 83.6 percent of non-respondent homes, below the 95.6 percent reached in surrounding counties.

A federal judge has temporarily halted the Trump plan, but Barnes said that is no reason to wait.

The count reflects your place of residence on April 1st, 2020.

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Categories: Politics

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