NEW YORK - The countdown to get counted is about to officially end. After being pushed several times because of the Pandemic, the deadline for completing the census is now Friday morning at 6 a.m., and the stakes are high.
"The 2020 census is this foundational exercise in our democracy that determines money, power, and respect in New York City for the next 10 years," said Amit Singh Bagga, the Deputy Director of the Mayor's Office of the Census. Bagga was among the Census takers urging New Yorkers in Corona, Queens to fill out their Census forms before the looming deadline.
The Census numbers will determine how many Congressional Representatives each state gets, along with electoral votes and how 1.5 trillion federal dollars are divvied up
"1.5 trillion dollars for roads, hospitals, schools, job training and more all depend on the census," Bagga said.
But the accuracy of the 2020 Census has been called into question after the Supreme Court ruled this week to allow the Trump Administration to stop the 2020 count before it was scheduled to end on October 31st.
After being pushed back because of Covid, in August, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross ordered the deadline be moved back up to September 30 so that the data could be tabulated and delivered to the President by the end of the year, as required by law. Civil rights groups sued to reverse that move.
"The argument was, certain groups would be undercounted and therefore it would be a constitutionally deficient census," explained Dmitriy Shakhnevich, Adjunct Assistant Professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
The U.S. Census Bureau says it has tallied 99.9 percent of households in most of the country, but that doesn't mean everyone filled out their forms as required.
"New York City is at 61.5% percent, that means 61 and a half percent of the households in New York City have either gone online, called it in over the phone, or filled it out and.mailed it back in," said Jeff Behler, the New York Regional Director of the Census Bureau.
Behler says Census takers got proxy information from neighbors or property managers when they couldn't get residents in person.
"This is a last resort, it's not something we do right away, we make six attempts over two to three weeks," Behler explained.
You can still get counted accurately by going online to 2020Census.gov or calling the Census Bureau at 844-330-2020 by 6 a.m. tomorrow. Mail-in census forms must be postmarked by October 15.
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