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News from the League of Women Voters, St. Cloud Area (LWVSCA)

2020 U.S. Census: Where to From Here? 

In 2020 the United States conducted a nationwide census in the middle of a pandemic, with the goal of counting every person living in the country. Under ideal conditions, the decennial census is a major undertaking that involves “hundreds of thousands of people and dozens of operations and systems” according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The Covid-19 virus added challenges to an already complex process.

In March 2020, households began receiving invitations to participate in the census—just as the Bureau was forced to temporarily halt field operations. When census takers resumed face-to-face visits using public health guidelines, they often encountered resistance or noncompliance because of Covid-19 concerns. In addition, people moved and relocated at unprecedented levels in 2020 due to the effects of natural disasters (hurricanes and wildfires), civil unrest, and shifts to online work and learning due to the virus.

The Census Bureau responded with strategies ranging from focusing on under-reporting areas to extending data collection deadlines. Census workers were trained in minimizing social contact and leaving census invitations at households. A national advertising campaign encouraged the public to consider using telephone, email and online options for completing the census. Even with these efforts, the 2020 national count was delayed; the Bureau continues to evaluate census numbers to ensure complete and accurate results. Individual states are not expected to receive Census Block data results before June 1, 2021.

Impact of the 2020 Census on the State of Minnesota

Initial census data indicates that the State of Minnesota will retain its eight seats in the U.S. Congress. However, the geographic distribution of people throughout the state has changed since the last census, requiring the reconfiguration of Minnesota's legislative districts. The Legislature will be required to undertake a redistricting process and is expected to begin hearings in early summer. The League of Women Voters at the local, state and national levels, is focused on ensuring that redistricting efforts meet the highest standards of transparency and fairness.

UPCOMING: May 12 Unit Meeting via Zoom

“Update on the St. Cloud Police Department (SCPD) Community Policing Agreement”

May 12, 2021, 1:00--3:00 p.m.

Presenter: City of St. Cloud Assistant Chief of Police, Jeffrey Oxton

City of St. Cloud Assistant Chief of Police, Jeffrey Oxton, a 26-year veteran of the SCPD, will give an update on the current status of the “Agreement Between the St. Cloud Police Department and the Communities of Color” that dates to September 2005 and was updated in 2018 to include the entire City. The Agreement provides clarity to areas of concern primarily felt by the communities of color and gives guidance to all parties concerning their actions. The concept of fair and impartial policing is articulated in a Vision/Mission statement that underlies approaches and actions. The Agreement has helped the SCPD form relationships within the community and has been used as a model around the country.

Visitors who are interested in our meeting and discussion topics, can email us using the icon below to request more information.