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Take time to get census right

Every ten years the U.S. government takes a census of everyone in the country. The nation has been doing this a long time, and usually it follows well-established procedures.

Usually by this time of year, the Census Bureau is releasing its results. Cities, counties and states around the country are learning if they have grown or shrunk. This information is vital in apportioning government program aid, and especially in deciding how to divide up the country’s congressional districts. But this year the information is delayed, held up by confusion and challenges to the process this year.

Minnesota this year is considered to be on the brink of being downsized. We are in danger of losing one congressional district if our population growth hasn’t kept up with other states. We deserve an accurate and honest Census count, and the longer it is delayed, the more pressure is put on those who must decide how to re-district our congressional and legislative districts. This data was to have been completed by the end of the last year. It now appears that it may be March before the figures are ready.

This year’s Census was hampered by demands from the Trump administration that a question be added to determine citizenship (which a court denied), and whether people who are in the country illegally should be counted in determining congressional districts. In the past they have been included.

Census workers claim that this year they had been pressured to get the count done on a shorter schedule, and even to falsify responses to get the job done early.

President Biden has pledged to give the Census Bureau the time it needs to get an accurate and fair accounting. That should be our goal, to get it done right.

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