Illinois senators urge residents to fill out census as soon as possible

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Despite a lower court ruling extending the census deadline, Democratic members of the Illinois Senate are urging residents to complete their census forms as soon as possible. There’s a possibility this decision could be overturned on appeal and this extended window could be cut short.

“While I’m grateful for the court ruling extending the deadline to fill out the census, we can’t become complacent,” said State Sen. Cristina Castro (D-Elgin). “We’ve seen this deadline move several times already. Everyone should complete the census in case it moves again.”

In August, the Census Bureau announced they would end all counting efforts a month earlier than scheduled despite concerns that the pandemic had impeded census outreach efforts. A federal court issued a ruling Thursday ordering the bureau to abandon this last-minute change, but the Justice Department is expected to appeal the decision.

“We need everyone in our communities to be counted,” said State Sen. Christopher Belt (D-Centreville), Chair of the Senate Black Caucus. “Our census numbers will affect federal funding and government representation for the next decade.”

The federal government uses census figures to determine funding for a wide variety of programs and grants that span health care, education, infrastructure, and more. Census population counts are also used to determine representation in the U.S. House of Representatives and to draw the district lines for state and local legislative districts.

“Don’t wait to fill out your census form,” said State Sen. Emil Jones III (D-Chicago). “You can do it online, over the phone, or through the mail, and in most cases, it takes 10 minutes or less.”

People who still need to fill out the census can visit www.2020census.gov or call 844-330-2020 (844-468-2020 for Spanish).

“This pandemic has made the census even more important and more complicated,” said State Sen. Celina Villanueva (D-Chicago). “We need the federal funding tied to our census count more than ever to support our recovery effort. I also want to remind everyone that your immigration status cannot be used against you when you fill out the census.”

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