Seminole County can still count through October 5

With an extended deadline, now until Tuesday, October 5th to respond, census count volunteers and city and county leaders are making one final push to get every Seminole County resident counted. Business and industry leaders are encouraging all of their employees to register and get counted. Donalsonville Mayor Ron Johnson, Iron City Mayor Ronnie Ingram and Seminole County Manager Paula Granger, city and county workers and community volunteers will continue in these last few days canvassing, door-to-door, in Donalsonville, Iron City and throughout the county over the next seven days in the effort to get every single resident of Seminole County counted. Simple and easy to get counted sites, offering assistance in completing the census, are now available in the Seminole County Courthouse and Donalsonville City Hall.  Residents can also register this Saturday, October 3 at Piggly Wiggly in Donalsonville from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m.

In addition to completing the census at one of these sites, resident can get counted online at 2020census.gov, by mail, or by calling 844-330-2020.

Incentives to encourage all Seminole County citizens to register for the census – also extended through the October 5th new deadline – include a $1,000 monetary incentive to take the time and get counted, offered by a group of concerned citizens. All you have to do to get in the running for it is to make sure you get counted.

The name of one Seminole County resident who has registered for the 2020 census will be randomly picked to receive the prize the day after the Census county officially ends. To make sure your name is in the running for the census sign up incentive, Seminole County residents must register at any of the Seminole County sign up location, the Seminole County Courthouse, Donalsonville City Hall, register with a census taker knocking on your door through the end of September, or by submitting proof of census registration to the Donalsonville News office by 5 p.m., now on October 5. Residents of Donalsonville will receive a $5 credit on their utility bills if they register and get counted at Donalsonville City Hall.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced on Monday the 2020 census will end Oct. 5, despite a federal judge’s ruling last week allowing the head count of every U.S. resident to continue through the end of October, according to a tweet posted by the Census Bureau on Monday.

The tweet said the ability for people to self-respond to the census questionnaire and the door-knocking phase when census takers go to homes that haven’t responded are targeted to end Oct. 5.

A virtual hearing was held in San Jose, California, as a follow-up to U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh’s preliminary injunction. The injunction issued last week suspended the Census Bureau’s deadline for ending the head count Sept. 30, which automatically reverted back to an older Census Bureau plan in which the timeline for ending field operations was Oct. 31.

The Oct. 5 deadline doesn’t necessarily violate the judge’s order because the injunction just suspended the Sept. 30 deadline for field operations, as well as a Dec. 31 deadline the Census Bureau has for turning in figures used for determining how many congressional seats each state gets in a process known as apportionment. 

Koh asked federal government attorneys during Monday’s hearing to provide documents on how the decision to end the head count Oct. 5 was made. When a federal government lawyer suggested that the decision-making was a moving target without any records, the judge asked, “A one sentence tweet? Are you saying that is enough reason to establish decision-making? A one sentence tweet?”

Given the judge’s preliminary injunction and a temporary restraining order she issued prohibiting the Census Bureau from winding down 2020 operations, the decision was made that the Sept. 30 deadline was no longer viable, said August Flentje, special counsel to the assistant U.S. attorney general.

Koh sided with civil rights groups and local governments that sued the Census Bureau and the Department of Commerce, which oversees the statistical agency, arguing that minorities and others in hard-to-count communities would be missed if the counting ends this month.

Attorneys for the federal government said they were appealing the decision. During hearings, federal government attorneys argued that the head count needed to end Sept. 30 to meet a Dec. 31 deadline for handing in figures used for apportionment.

Monday’s statement was solely attributed to the commerce secretary, while previous announcements about census schedule changes had been made either by Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham or both men jointly.

In response to the pandemic, the Census Bureau in April had pushed back the deadline for ending the 2020 census from the end of July to the end of October. 

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