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2020 Census Day is upon us

HARLEM VALLEY— Wednesday, April 1, is Census Day in the United States — no fooling. That’s why the U.S. Census Bureau has been hard at work, sending Census forms out since early March. With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing social distancing, Census workers stopped going door to door early in the process. Residents are urged to respond to the Census.

“Your response helps to direct billions of dollars in federal funds to local communities for schools, roads and other public services,” according to the U.S. Census Bureau. “Results from the 2020 Census will be used to determine the number of seats each state has in Congress and your political representation at all levels of government.”

According to the Census Bureau, in addition to an invitation to respond, some households received a paper questionnaire (also called a Census form) to complete. However, the bureau stressed, “You do not need to wait for your paper questionnaire to respond to the Census.” The Census form may be completed online, by phone or by mail once it arrives.

Residents who don’t get rural delivery and therefore rely on P.O. Boxes from the U.S. Postal Service for their mail may have to rely on technology to complete the Census. That’s because, according to North East resident Meg Winkler, many never received their paper form Census.

“I realized it might be since it was sent to a physical street address and not to my P.O. Box,” she said. “The paper Census form was mailed ‘to resident at’ your physical street address. If you have a P.O. Box, most likely your Census has been returned by the post office as undeliverable.”

Winkler, taking on the role of sleuth, looked into the issue.

“The Millerton Post Office confirmed they return all the paper Census forms as not deliverable to those who have P.O. Boxes,” she said.

A call to the Millerton Post Office for confirmation was unsatisfactory, as no one would go on the record. But The Millerton News did learn that there are roughly 900 residents who use P.O. Boxes in the 12546 zip code.

Winkler said not to worry.

“You can still fill out the Census, without your Census ID number, online or respond by phone,” she said.

The Census may be completed online, at www.my2020census.gov. Or, one may call to complete the Census, from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m., in English, at 844-330-2020 or in Spanish, at 844-468-2020. The Census Bureau assures residents it’s safe, secure and confidential.

“Please participate — we all need to be counted,” encouraged Winkler.

Throughout April, the Census Bureau will send reminder postcards, and a paper questionnaire. In late May, Census takers plan to visit households that have not completed the Census to offer personal assistance, if local, state and federal health officials give the all-clear.

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