The concept of the Task Force began with the organization of the Town's Complete Count Committee in October 2019. We have been working and partnering our efforts with the Jones Library, the Senior Center, Rep. Mindy Domb, LWVMA, MA Counts/Voter Table and MA Immigration and Advocacy Coalition to ensure that Amherst, as the 9th hardest to count community in the state, receives its fair share of federal funding, fair share of Congressional seats, and accurate information for fair state and local redistricting.
Highlights of the year:
- A public announcement of the League's kick-off of our 'Get out the 2020 Census Count' at a February 14 Town Council Meeting, including a Proclamation citing the League's 100 years of service, action and advocacy
- The distribution of almost 1000 of our 'Basic Facts' and 'Why it Matters' census information cards in English, Spanish and Chinese to residents and businesses at a downtown canvassing event and 13 tabling sessions at the Senior Center and Jones Library prior to the pandemic shutdown
- A Letter to the Editor, March 6, 2020
- Monthly updates in the EBulletin, information on our website and frequent posting on our FaceBook page
- Joining the MA Counts/Voter Table and MA Immigration & Advocacy Coalition phone calls to hard to count communities in March; to date, over 90,000 plus calls to undercounted communities, including Amherst
- Outreach to several community organizations and neighborhood districts seeking involvement with the ongoing Amherst/MA phone banking effort
- Amherst PGO newsletter editors sent out our information to the school staff, parents, guardian families as reminders to fill out the census
We are currently in discussion with the Complete Count Committee regarding additional opportunities ahead to increase awareness and increase responses. June 15, 2020 Census data indicate the need: Amherst response rates are at 62%, the lowest of all surrounding communities, state totals at 63.4%, and national response is at 61.4%.
While many are focused on the pandemic, its disruptions and months-ahead consequences, the good news is that the U.S. Census timelines and reporting dates regarding apportionment and redistricting have been extended. The Task Force looks forward to continuing our work toward a complete and accurate count in 2020.
Submitted by Adrienne Terrizzi