Chicago Sun-Times

A re­minder to fill out Cen­sus, help friends, fam­ily who lack on­line ac­cess

- Society · Immigration

There are well-known bar­ri­ers to en­gag­ing in the im­por­tant civic duty of par­tic­i­pat­ing in the 2020 Cen­sus, es­pe­cially for peo­ple of color and im­mi­grants. One bar­rier that has not re­ceived much attention is lack of in­ter­net ac­cess, which af­fects peo­ple of all eth­nic­i­ties or im­mi­gra­tion sta­tus, as well as the el­derly.

Fill­ing out the cen­sus ques­tions at my2020­cen­sus.gov is very easy, but peo­ple who can’t get to the Cen­sus web­site might be wait­ing for an out­reach worker to con­tact them.

Here’s a bet­ter idea: Those who have in­ter­net ac­cess should help their fam­ily and friends who do not have the re­sources to get on­line. Help­ing some­one sub­mit their Cen­sus in­for­ma­tion is per­fectly le­gal: the Cen­sus web­site states that the ques­tion­naire “should be com­pleted by the per­son who owns or rents the liv­ing quar­ters or any other per­son who is at least 15 years of age with knowl­edge of the house­hold.”

Help­ing others can be done while main­tain­ing so­cial dis­tanc­ing, by ob­tain­ing the nec­es­sary in­for­ma­tion over the tele­phone. If some­one has dis­carded the mailer form with their Cen­sus ID number, the ques­tion­naire can still be com­pleted on­line.

So in ad­di­tion to per­form­ing your civic duty by com­plet­ing the 2020 Cen­sus for your­self, help out your fam­ily and friends who want to be counted, but just need a lit­tle tech­no­log­i­cal help to get the job done.

Marie Lind­sey, New Lenox

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