Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Call and be counted

The U.S. Census Bureau has had trouble counting residents in the Wood River Valley. It's asking people to pick up census forms in person this week or to call special phone numbers any time in order to be counted.

It's hugely important for permanent residents to be counted, or they will deprive the county, area cities and themselves of opportunities that come with grants and payments from the federal government over the next 10 years. They could also dilute the area's representation in the state legislature because electoral districts are based on census results.

Residents can complete census forms by calling (866) 872-6868 for English and (866) 928-2010 for Spanish. It's simple and only takes a few minutes. Otherwise, they can fill out forms in person on July 30 and 31 in Ketchum at the post office and City Hall from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The local completion rate to date isn't impressive, perhaps in part because federal rules prohibit census forms from being delivered to post office boxes. That's a problem in a county where people get mail at post offices because of the difficulty of winter deliveries.

That left census workers trying to visit every home and apartment in person to get census forms filled out. That's been hit and miss because many people working in the area's seasonal economy may have been gone during the slow spring season when the census was conducted.

The U.S. Census Bureau is making a special effort to get a good count. Because the census does not collect immigration data, no one should fear being counted.

Everyone should support the effort by calling or showing up and ensuring that they and their families are counted.

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