Nancy Leifer and Nancy Maxson, Co-Presidents of the League of Women Voters of Missoula
The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted our lives in many ways, including delaying the 2020 census. Currently, census workers are just finishing delivering census forms to individual doorsteps on the Flathead Reservation. You may have received a census form packet in the past few weeks.
Have you filled out and returned your census form?
Filling out and submitting your form will help your community get more federal money, about $20,000 per person over the next 10 years. Census data determines how billions of dollars in federal funds are distributed for health clinics, school lunch programs, disaster recovery initiatives, and other critical programs and services for the next 10 years.
If just one household of 5 people doesn’t complete the census questionnaire, tribal, local and Montana state governments could lose $100,000 in federal money.
Census data also determines voting districts that in turn affect who we can elect.
As of mid-June, both Montana as a whole and the Flathead Indian Reservation have low “self-response” rates for the census. Self-response rates are the percent of households that have completed their census forms on-line, by phone or mail. Having a low self-response rate means that thousands of people have not been counted and millions of federal dollars could be lost.
Census Self-Response Rates as of 6/15/2020:
Montana Tribal Areas
40.7 percent - CSKT
11.5 percent - Blackfeet
6.4 percent - Fort Belknap
24.5 percent - Fort Peck
4 percent - Northern Cheyenne
5.1 percent - Crow
There is still time to complete your census form. If you cannot receive mail at your home, the Census Bureau attempts to reach you in other ways, by delivering a questionnaire with information on responding to your doorstep or coming to your home to interview you. You can also respond without a form by phone at 1-844-330-2020 or online at my2020census.gov
The answers you provide are used only to produce statistics. You are kept anonymous: The Census Bureau is not permitted to release your responses in any way that could identify you or anyone else in your home, nor to share personal information with another agency or anyone else.
The League of Women Voter has been registering voters and providing non-partisan voting information for 100 years. Membership is open to men and women, citizens and non-citizens age 16 or over. For more information about the League, go to our web site: lwvmissoula.org.