Other Voices: The Census is here – it's time to get counted

We are less than two months from an important date, Census Day, April 1. Counting everyone is imperative for California and Mountain View to get proper representation and essential funding per the U.S. Constitution. California is a “hard to count” state. In particular, Santa Clara County ranks as the ninth toughest to count in the nation. This is also the first time the Census questionnaire will be primarily online.

Full participation is critical. Census data is used to allocate nearly $700 billion in federal program funding and designates political representation at various levels of government. States use this funding for essential programs such as health care, social services, education grants and infrastructure. California’s political representation in the U.S. Congress is decided through the Census, and there has been talk of California losing a seat if there is an undercount. This information is also used to redraw state and local district boundaries.

Now is the time for an accurate count, one in which each and every person is counted. Every individual regardless of age, immigration status or residency counts. The Santa Clara County Complete Count Steering Committee, of which I am a member, has been focused on community engagement, particularly with children under age 5, seniors, individuals with disabilities, immigrants and the unstably housed. Statewide, California leaders have invested $187 million toward an outreach and communication campaign.

As April 1 approaches, keep an eye out for your Census postcard. This postcard will contain your unique Census ID number for your household. There are four ways to complete your Census information: internet self-response form, paper form, by phone and in-person via enumerator visits.

I invite you to join the city of Mountain View and Santa Clara County’s joint Multicultural Census Party – scheduled 6:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday at the Mountain View Community Center, Maple Room, 201 Rengstorff Ave. – to learn more about the Census. Refreshments, games and translation services will be available.

Let’s make sure Mountain View counts.

Ellen Kamei is vice mayor of Mountain View and a member of the Santa Clara County Complete Count Steering Committee.

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