By Nancy and the other Nancy

Nancy Maxson and Nancy Leifer, Co-Presidents League of Women Voters Missoula 

Do you have ten minutes to help preserve our American democracy?

It takes ten minutes to complete the census and help the United States, Montana and the Confederated Salish Kootenai Tribes. 

If you are a resident of the United States--document or undocumented, citizen or not-- you live in a free society. You have access to open public lands, extensive paved highways and a reliable power system. You rely on the freedom of religion, speech and the press as components of our democracy. But benefitting from these freedoms comes with accepting the responsibilities of being a resident of this United States. Responding to the US Census is one of these responsibilities.

By law, the US Census counts EVERY resident of the country. The population count determines how many representatives we have in the US House of Representatives, how many representatives in the Montana legislature—how many representatives we have to protect our rights, our freedoms and our democracy. It also determines how much federal money Montana and CSKT receives—money for such things as paved roads, fighting fires and now to support businesses, schools and tribes devastated by the pandemic. 

Only 79.9 percent of Montanans have completed their census forms placing us 48th among the 50 states. Only Alabama and Georgia have lower response rates than Montana. Time is running out. The deadline for responding to the census is September 30, 2020.

If your census form arrived either by mail or was left at your front door, you can fill it out the paper form and mail it back. If you have lost the envelope, you can mail it to: 

U.S. Census Bureau

National Processing Center

1201 E 10th Street

Jeffersonville, IN 47132

If you don’t have a form or card, but you do have a home with a street address, you can complete your census data on-line at 2020census.gov or by calling the Census response line phone number 844-330-2020 (for Spanish 844-468-2020). The Census Bureau is offering a callback option to better respond to requests during periods of high call volume. Simply provide your preferred phone number and time of day for a return call, and an official census representative will call you back to collect your response to the 2020 Census.

Alternately, if you haven’t filled out the census yet, a census worker may appear on your doorstep. As part of its Nonresponse Follow-up Operation (NRFU), the U.S. Census Bureau is visiting every household that has not already responded to the 2020 Census In Lake County, this “nonresponse follow-up” door-knocking began on 8/09 and will continue until Sept. 30. 

Please respond if the census taker visits. Census takers are hired from your area, and their goal is to help you and everyone in your home be counted in the 2020 Census. Check to make sure they have a valid Census Bureau ID badge with their photograph. 

The Census Bureau will never ask you:

If you are a citizen

For your full Social Security number.

For your bank account or credit card numbers.

Anything on behalf of a political party.

For money or donations.

If no one is home when the census taker visits, the census taker will leave a notice of their visit with information about how to respond online, by phone or by mail. 

Please, take the ten minutes you need to complete your census form and help preserve our democracy.

The League of Women Voters has been registering voters and providing non-partisan voting information for over 100 years. Membership is open to men and women, citizens and non-citizens over the age of 16. For more information about the Missoula League, go to our website: lwvmissoula.org

Spotlight on Citizenship 

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