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Colleton residents asked to take U.S. Census

Leaders for towns across Colleton County and for the county itself are encouraging every Colleton County resident to take the 2020 U.S. Census.
The census is mandated by the federal government to occur every 10 years. It is an actual population count of each resident in the United States and is meant to provide equal representation to areas in state and national elected seats.
Larry Lightsey is the delinquent tax collector for Colleton County. He has also been appointed by county leaders and Colleton County Council to oversee the newly-formed Complete Count Committee, which focuses on boosting resident participation in the 2020 U.S. Census.
To get more people to participate in the census, the committee is using integrated community leaders and organizations, such as the NAACP, to help encourage people to take the census.
The committee is also going to “take advantage of events,” such as the upcoming Rice Festival, to get more people to take the census.
“Our businesses that want to locate in Colleton County, like factories and offices and stores, need to know about our increased population and their increased customer base and workforce,” he said. “We need to show the county has grown. This will create more jobs.”
Lightsey said the census would also give us proper representation in S.C. Senate and House, and in U.S. Congress.
“The census is also going to reflect what we get for education and in the programs that we can offer to everyone,” said Lightsey. According to him, these programs include everything from health-focused initiatives to the East Coast Migrant Head Start Program. This is located in Lodge. The program provides early education to the children of migrant workers seasonal farmworkers. “There is so much at stake with this census,” said Lightsey. “I am encouraging everyone to participate in the census. We want to remove all doubts and answer any questions or concerns about privacy. The information our residents provide will be protected.”
Walterboro City Council and Mayor Bill Young have repeatedly encouraged city residents to take the census. The council has also adopted a resolution encouraging census participation.
According to Walterboro Assistant Manager Hank Amundson, each city resident’s participation in the census is critical for the city. Amundson said the census not only impacts the city’s receiving of grants and population documentation, but he said it impacts the proper representation of the city and its residents in the U.S. Congress.
“The census is more important than people think,” he said. “If people don’t volunteer their information, it could actually cost the city, the county, and state governments actual money, as allocations come out from the federal government.”
Amundson said the city has a Complete Count Committee that will partner with the county’s Complete Count Committee to help get all residents counted. “We all benefit together,” said Amundson.

“We all, including the Federal Government, know that more people live here,” said Amundson. “There are all kinds of data collection methods that show this … but the Federal Government is legally bound to use the voluntary census method to count us for its funding and representation purposes.
“People need to know that there are no personal data pieces released to anyone …” he said. “We must be counted.

We must be counted more accurately. We need to do so in order to receive better representation. And we desperately need the support services, like education, senior services, and services for the disabled.”

The town of Edisto Beach and its elected leaders are also encouraging participation in the U.S. Census, promoting the census on their social media platforms.
How to take the census
The 2020 census is allowing participants to respond online for the first time. This online participation option presents the questionnaire in English or 12 other languages. This includes a video in American Sign Language.
Participants can also participate by calling 844-467-2020 or by responding to a paper questionnaire, which will be mailed to every household by mid-April.
Beginning in mid-May, residents can also take the survey in person. Trained census-takers will begin knocking on the doors of every participant who has not responded to the census by phone, by mail, or by taking the online questionnaire.
Anyone with questions about the census can go to www.2020census.gov.

Heather Walters (1700 Posts)