Census deadline quickly approaching

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You have until 11:59 Thursday night to be counted in the census.

NORTHWEST ARKANSAS (KNWA/KFTA) — 99.9 percent of Arkansans have filled out the 2020 Census.

But, if you’re in that point one percent who haven’t, you still have a few hours.

The extended deadline to complete the 2020 Census was originally pushed to Oct. 31st, but the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the deadline will now be 11:59 Thursday night.

This year, getting people to fill out the census was harder than usual with the COVID-19 pandemic stopping most in-person gatherings.

Fort Smith Mayor George McGill said, “There were many, many activities and outreach efforts that we had planned that were just put on hold because of the virus.”

Mayor McGill is also the chair of the state-wide Complete Count Committee.

He said despite no census block parties or mobile kiosks, the state did well this year.

“The numbers will show we did even better than we did in the 2010 census,” he said.

In Arkansas, the self response rate was over 60 percent, and 99.9 percent of households have turned in their forms already.

“We did put extra effort in meeting the needs of our Hispanic community and Marshallese community,” said McGill.

He said these populations are traditionally hard to reach.

“We have helped more people in the last month with the census than we were when the census opened, which was at the start of COVID-19 back in March,” said Mireya Reith, the founding executive director of Arkansas United.

Reith leads an immigrant rights group called Arkansas United.

She’s disappointed with the supreme court’s decision to shorten the amount of time people have to complete the census, but is still fighting to get the word out to minority communities.

“For those who were waiting for the last minute, we are affirming this is the last minute,” she said. “The website and the hotline is still open.”

McGill said in short, there’s no reason to not be counted.

“Your participation in the census could mean very well $100,000 for your state,” he said. “Why would you not do that?”

Keep in mind, the census determines congressional representation and shows where communities need new schools and other services.

Again, you have until just before midnight Thursday to fill out your census form.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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