By Mike Bennett
As Manatee’s Supervisor of Elections, and as a former state of Florida Senator, I sincerely hope you exercise your patriotic duty and vote in the August primary and November general elections. As important as the upcoming elections are, I am writing today regarding another very important and patriotic duty. I need you to participate in our national census. A very simple but extremely important request of you and all Floridians: Fill out and return today the census form you should have all received.
Why should you, you may ask? Because it is critically important to our local community that all of us do so in order to provide accurate data, which will affect local, state and national programs and funding for the next 10 years. Many people may not be aware of the extensive list of things impacted by census data. A U.S. Census Bureau report lists over 130 programs that receive funds based on the census data. These range from school lunches to highway planning and construction, disaster recovery to senior services, veterans’ services to small business development, beach renourishment and beyond.
Click here to read more stories about the 2020 census.
In addition to providing a basis for allocation of funding, the census data is also extremely important for county government; emergency management operations; hospitals, fire and police departments; and both large and small businesses. The data allows those entities to project and plan to meet the needs of their constituencies and customers.
As if these were not reasons enough, the results of this once-a-decade count determine the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives. The data is also used to draw congressional and state legislative districts. Manatee County currently has a 56% response rate for the census. That is a bit below the rate of 62% for the U.S. We need to be more like Balltown, Iowa or North River, North Dakota, who both have 100% compliance. Granted, those communities have a smaller population than we do, but if they can do it, so can we!
Normally, representatives from the census would be knocking on your door by now, but the pandemic continues to interfere with those plans. The census form is very simple and should take no more than a few minutes to complete. Please do your patriotic duty and complete and return your census form today.
If you have lost the form that was mailed to your house, then please either call the hotline at 844-330-2020 or go online to my2020census.gov and follow the very simple instructions that are available in over 50 different languages.
If you care about our country and our state, please do this for for me, for you, for your family and for Florida.
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