Speaker Edgmon requests extension of 2020 Census

Rep Edgmon Letter to Sens Murkowski and Sullivan RE Census 8.6.20

Alaska State Legislature

Representative Bryce Edgmon

Speaker of the House

August 6, 2020

Honorable Senator Lisa Murkowski Honorable Senator Dan Sullivan

*Delivered electronically* Senators –

I am grateful for your commitment to making sure Alaskans are aware of the importance of responding to the 2020 Census. From your co-sponsorship of Senate Concurrent Resolution 31, to your highlighting of the issue on social media, it’s clear that the census remains a high priority for both of you.

With that said, I am concerned by this week’s announcement that the 2020 Census, and one of the most important parts of the operation, knocking on the doors of individuals and families who have not yet answered, will be cut short. I ask you to support efforts to ensure the census can continue through October 31 as planned so that all Alaskans have an opportunity to be counted.

The barriers to a complete count in Alaska are already very high. We are considered one of the most difficult states to count, and the Alaska Native community in particular has historically been undercounted, depriving Alaskans of critical resources for everything from infrastructure to education to clean drinking water. Currently, Alaska has the lowest self-response rate in the nation. If the “Nonresponse Follow-up Operation” is cut short, Alaskans could easily suffer the largest consequences of any state, shortchanging our state of valuable federal dollars flowing into our economy over the next decade.

The Census Bureau has been frank abut its operating challenges since May, clearly stating they cannot meet the usual statutory deadlines without threatening the accuracy of the count because of COVID-19. On their own advice, and that of others, an extension for the Census allows for a full and accurate count that will provide critical funding to Alaska for the next decade. Ending the Census early all but guarantees an inaccurate count in Alaska.

Last year, you cosponsored Sen. Con. Res. 31, which passed the Senate on December 19, which reads: “It is the civic duty of the people of the United States to help ensure that the 2020 Census is as accurate as possible.” I stand shoulder to shoulder with you in this mission and remain grateful for your commitment to this ideal and hopeful that you will use your position to ensure that every Alaskan’s voice is heard.

Thank you for all you do for our state. Sincerely,

Rep. Bryce Edgmon

State Capitol Building

120 East 4th Street, Juneau, AK 99801

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