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With census deadline moved to Thursday, community activists scramble

Virus Outbreak 2020 Census Redistricting
Posted at 10:25 PM, Oct 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-14 23:57:16-04

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Immediately after registering voters in Kansas City, Kansas, Valeria Espadas learned the deadline for the 2020 Census was being pushed up.

Espadas is the community mobilizer in Wyandotte County for El Centro and Tuesday marked the third time the census deadline had changed amid the pandemic and legal wrangling. The new deadline is 4:59 a.m. on Oct. 16 in Kansas City, which is a minute before midnight in Hawaii.

“At this point, it really is crunch time,” Espandas said.

The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that the Trump administration was allowed to end census field operations early.

Filling out the census determines how much federal money is allocated to local communities for things like schools, food assistance and roads. The higher the population, the more money those states, counties and cities receive.

“Nonprofits and social service agencies often are stepping up and stepping into the gap to provide services,” Daniel Damon with the AdHoc Group Against Crime said. “If we are not counting or doing what we are supposed to be doing in terms of just standing up and being counted, then we are missing out on those resources.”

The results from the census also determine congressional representation at the federal level.

Businesses and governments often use the numbers as a blueprint to decide where to invest resources and add services.

“It’s 10 minutes, 10 questions, 10 years,” Espandas said. “Those are numbers they are going to look at for the next 10 years.”

Thursday is the last day to fill out the U.S. Census online, if you haven't already.