Adrienne Terrizzi: The census is coming, make sure you’re counted

Wednesday, March 04, 2020

On Feb. 14, the Amherst League of Women Voters joined 350 chapters across the country for a National Day of Action to commemorate our 100th anniversary.

The Amherst League’s action was a kickoff event for the 2020 United States Census “Get out the Count” fanning throughout our downtown, drawing awareness, distributing information and importantly, responding to questions.

Why does the Census matter? It’s an opportunity for your voice to count. It’s about empowering residents and defending democracy. It’s about federal funding. It’s about fair political representation. It’s about why we support the efforts for a complete 2020 census count in Amherst, among the top 10 hardest to count municipalities in the commonwealth.

Census totals are used to apportion seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, in Boston and at the local level for the next decade. These totals are used to redraw district boundaries that impact our congressional, state and local representation. That representation is determined by the actual number of individuals responding in each district and the number of seats we will have for the next ten years.

An under count will result in less federal funds and potentially fewer individuals representing us in the U.S. Congress, State House and State Senate legislative bodies. Between March 12 and 20, every household will receive a letter from the U.S. Census Bureau with an opportunity to respond in three ways: online for the first time this year in 13 different languages, via phone, or in person with a census worker.

University and college students living on campus will be counted by their respective institutions; off-campus students must be sure that someone in their residence is responsible for completing the census on behalf of every person living in the unit. Questions? Visit Get Counted Amherst at amherstma.gov/3505/Get-Counted or www. lwvamherst.org

Adrienne Terrizzi

The authoer is a member of the League of Women Voters of Amherst.