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Businesses use it to make investment decisions that boost economic growth. Montana’s redistricting commission uses it to draw boundaries for fair political representation. Local state and federal officials use it to allocate resources for public safety, disaster response, education, hospitals, veterans and transportation. Estimates show Montana stands to receive $20,000 of federal support, per person counted in the census, over the following ten years.

Is the census safe? Courts have been forceful in enforcing the confidentiality of census data, with fines of $250,000 and five years in jail for violations. This year, census forms will also be available to fill out online using the highest cybersecurity.

Who should be counted? The US Constitution requires the census to count all persons, not just citizens. We have one chance every ten years to get this right. Let’s work together to ensure a complete census count, including Montana’s hard-to-count communities such as Indian reservations, farms and ranches in rural areas without internet service, the homeless and veterans.

The League of Women Voters of Montana invites everyone to learn about the census process for 2020, encourage everyone around you to do the same and reach out to those who might be left out.

Nancy Leifer, president, League of Women Voters Montana

Barbara Harris, co-president, League of Women Voters of the Helena Area

Clare Kearns, co-president, League of Women Voters of the Helena Area

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