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Census needs more time, not less

Giving Americans a month less to respond to the 2020 Census may be the most ridiculous proposal to come out of Washington this year. The idea should be discarded.

Original plans for the Census called for an Oct. 31 deadline for people to respond to it with information about themselves and their families. But Census Bureau officials reportedly want to change that to Sept. 30.

During this, of all years, people ought to be given more time to comply with government mandates, not less. There is no doubt that the COVID-19 epidemic has slowed collection of Census data. Moving the deadline would result in an even more incomplete report than in normal Census years.

That would be highly detrimental to states such as West Virginia, where the percentage of people who have responded to the Census is far lower than the national average. In other words, the Mountain State, to date, has been under counted in comparison to much of the country.

Changing the deadline would not serve East Ohioans well, either. Their response rate is much lower than the rest of the state.

Statistics gathered in the Census are used for a variety of purposes, including determination of how many state and federal legislators states and regions within them are allocated.

In addition, many federal funding programs rely on Census numbers. Fewer people counted means less money from Washington.

Cutting off responses a month early would be unfair to all Americans — but particularly those in areas such as ours. The idea should be rejected.

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