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"My great grandmother was born without the right to vote, and I am keenly aware of the privilege that is voting. I am voting to honor the extraordinary work of the suffragist and all those who have fought to ensure equal voting rights."



Caroline Pitman is a junior at The Catholic University of America studying Politics. Caroline is an active leader on campus and the President of Catholic's chapter of Ignite National. She is the recipient of the Merkel Fund Scholarship and the Mount Vernon Leadership Fellowship.

Have you filled out the census yet? Well, if you have not, there is still time left. Do not miss out on the opportunity to be counted for the next ten years. The deadline to complete the completely anonymous 10-minute survey is September 30th.


If you live in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, South Carolina, New Mexico, Mississippi, Montana, and Arizona, you are highly encouraged to fill out the survey as response rates are under 80 percent.


Why should I fill out the census?


The 2020 Census will determine congressional representation, inform hundreds of billions in federal funding every year, and provide data to impact communities for the next decade. [1]


Congressional Representation


Census data is important as it can help determine how many seats each state may receive in the U.S House of Representatives. The process of apportionment, measuring the population so that seats in the U.S. House of Representatives can be correctly apportioned among the states, is used with census data. [2] States can either gain seats or lose seats depending on their accounted population. For example, in 2010, Texas gained 4 seats, Florida gained 2 seats, while New York lost one seat. [3]


Federal Funding


The data collected from the Census helps lawmakers decide where billions of dollars will be allocated to the more than 100 federal programs over the next decade. These programs include Medicaid, direct student loans, highway construction grants, low-income tax credits and loans, and even adoption assistance programs, which are essential for some community members.


On a local level, census data will provide local/statewide officials to results in which they can see where communities need new schools, new clinics, new roads, and more services for families, older adults, and children. [1]


Business Decisions


Lastly, Census results are used regularly by businesses and corporations for several different store or company-wide decisions. Businesses use the data to calculate how to best serve their customers and their needs. Owners rely on the data to make decisions about where to open new storefronts or restaurants, where to expand their operations, and where to recruit their employees. [1] In brief, census data has a huge effect on products sold in stores, hiring, payroll, and regulations. [4]


Debunking Census Myths


When it comes to the census, the results are longlasting and impact a community for 10 years. Now that the importance of the results has been highlighted, here are some common misconceptions and rumors heard regarding the survey:


The Census is completely Anoynoums

True. This means the survey will not ask for any information regarding your citizenship, political affiliation, banking information, or social security number, as it is considered illegal under U.S law


The Census only counts U.S Citizens

False. The Census will count every person living in the country.


Census Answers can be shared with law enforcement and used against you.

False. “The law prevents the Census Bureau from sharing your information with law enforcement. Your answers cannot be used to impact your eligibility for government benefits.” [5]


The Census is only English.

False. The Census is in several different languages with guides in over 59 languages. For more information about languages and accessibility, click here.


Only count the people who pay rent or are 18+ on the census.

False. You should count everyone living in your home, regardless of lease agreements or age. For more information about special circumstances, click here.


Gen Z, Make sure you and your family are counted!

For a SAMPLE questionnaire, click here.

To fill out the census online, click here.

For more information about completing the census over the phone, click here.




References:

[1] "Importance of the Data | 2020 Census." https://2020census.gov/en/census-data.html. Accessed 18 Sep. 2020.

[2]"Apportionment - History - U.S. Census Bureau." 17 Dec. 2019, https://www.census.gov/history/www/reference/apportionment/. Accessed 19 Sep. 2020.

[3] "2010 Apportionment Results Map - Census Bureau." https://www.census.gov/library/visualizations/2010/dec/2010-map.html. Accessed 19 Sep. 2020.

[4] "Can Census Bureau Data Drive Business Growth and Job ...." 16 Oct. 2019, https://www.census.gov/library/stories/2019/10/can-census-bureau-data-drive-business-growth-job-creation.html. Accessed 19 Sep. 2020.

[5]"Fighting Rumors - 2020 Census." https://2020census.gov/en/news-events/rumors.html. Accessed 18 Sep. 2020.


Creating a plan to vote in November may not be a top priority between school, working, and our socially distanced social lives. After moving to a new state for school, questions can arise on the voting and voter registration process. Vote Z is here to help!


Frequently asked questions when it comes to voting as a college student.


I go to an out of state school, where do I vote?

If you are a college student who has a permanent address in one state and lives in another to attend school, you can choose where you want to cast your ballot. If you decide to vote in your home state, you must apply for an absentee ballot if you will be away from your municipality on election day. (Apply for an absentee ballot here.) Suppose you decide to change your registration to vote in the state you attend school. In that case, make sure you allow yourself enough time to register in that state before election day, as many states have deadlines for registering new voters before an election.


Can I stay registered at home if I go to school out of state?

According to USA.gov, students can send absentee ballots if they are still registered in their home states and attending school out of state. By applying to vote by mail before the election, you can participate as an absentee voter, with no need to travel to your hometown polling location.


Do I have to change my driver's license if I register to vote in a different state?

Not necessarily. If your license address does not match the state where you are registered to vote, you may need to present an official document with your name and current address on it at your polling location. This document can be a utility bill or paycheck with your current address on it in most states.


Does where I register to vote affect my in-state or out-of-state tuition status?

No, where you register to vote should not, typically, affect your in-state or out-of-state tuition status. Your residency status is determined by multiple factors, including voter registration, motor vehicle registration, driver's license, and state income tax return filing. If you are a dependent, where your parents live also determines your tuition status.


How does voting during the Coronavirus Pandemic affect college vote?

During the pandemic, deciding the safest way to vote has been complicated for all Americans, especially college students. More than 4,000 colleges have closed their campuses and converted to online classes, with 25 million students taking courses at home. At least 35 states allow "no excuse" absentee voting, allowing voters to apply for an absentee ballot without listing a reason.

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