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Klobuchar, Smith, Senate Colleagues Call on Census Bureau to Address Impact of Coronavirus on 2020 Census

Senators Highlight Need to Have Plan in Place to Protect Public Health and Integrity of Census Results

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-MN)—along with fellow Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)—pushed the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau to put a plan in place to ensure that the expanding Coronavirus outbreak doesn’t impact the accuracy of the 2020 Census, and to make certain the health of census takers is protected. In addition to Sen. Klobuchar, Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Jack Reed (D-RI), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Ed Markey (D-MA), Bob Casey (D-PA), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) joined the Smith-led letter to Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham on Wednesday.

In addition to calling on the Census Bureau to provide guidance to census takers and the general public, Smith and Klobuchar requested a Senate briefing on the status of the census no later than March 27, 2020.

“An accurate and comprehensive census is fundamental to our democracy and the well-being of communities across the country. We urge the Census Bureau to be prepared to assess whether public health concerns about novel coronavirus are depressing census response rates, and develop contingency plans for mitigating measures to help ensure a full and accurate population count,”
wrote the senators to Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham. “Furthermore, if outbreaks of novel coronavirus occur in the United States, the Census Bureau must be prepared to provide guidance to census takers on appropriate health and safety precautions while conducting the census. The Census Bureau may also need to prepare for challenges in recruitment and retention of census takers in the event of coronavirus outbreaks.”

You can access the letter here or below:

Dear Mr. Dillingham,

We write to request information on the United States Census Bureau’s plans to address a potential outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, often called novel coronavirus.  As the threat of such an outbreak in the United States increases, the Census Bureau should have a plan in place to protect census takers, the public, and ensure the integrity of census results.

An accurate and comprehensive census is fundamental to our democracy and the well-being of communities across the country.  We urge the Census Bureau to be prepared to assess whether public health concerns about novel coronavirus are depressing census response rates, and develop contingency plans for mitigating measures to help ensure a full and accurate population count.  Furthermore, if outbreaks of novel coronavirus occur in the United States, the Census Bureau must be prepared to provide guidance to census takers on appropriate health and safety precautions while conducting the census.  The Census Bureau may also need to prepare for challenges in recruitment and retention of census takers in the event of coronavirus outbreaks.

Given the vital importance of the census, and the potential impact of novel coronavirus outbreaks in this country, we urge the Census Bureau to create a comprehensive plan to address those possibilities.  Additionally, we request a briefing on the status of this planning no later than March 27, 2020.

Thank you for your consideration of this important issue and your efforts to ensure a complete and accurate population count during the 2020 census.

Sincerely,

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All Information was gathered from publicly available US Government releases. "§105. Subject matter of copyright: United States Government works Copyright protection under this title is not available for any work of the United States Government, but the United States Government is not precluded from receiving and holding copyrights transferred to it by assignment, bequest, or otherwise. ( Pub. L. 94–553, title I, §101, Oct. 19, 1976, 90 Stat. 2546 .)" http://uscode.house.gov/view.xhtml?req=(title:17%20section:105%20edition:prelim)