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Seal of the Governor
For Immediate Release: March 27, 2020
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Alena Yarmosky, Alena.Yarmosky@governor.virginia.gov

Governor Northam Encourages Virginians to Complete 2020 Census Online Amid COVID-19 Outbreak

Highlights upcoming Census Day and virtual statewide Week of Action

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today encouraged Virginians to complete the 2020 Census online as the country works to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19. This week, households across Virginia began receiving invitations from the U.S. Census Bureau to complete the 2020 Census. For the first time ever, individuals are able to complete their forms online, via phone, or mail. The statewide virtual Week of Action from Friday, March 27 to Thursday, April 2 will highlight Census Day on April 1, and encourage Virginians participate in the 2020 Census.

“Though many Virginians are focused on COVID-19, it is still crucial that everyone takes time to complete the 2020 Census, which can be done quickly and easily online,” said Governor Northam. “Counting every person in the Commonwealth will ensure that we receive our portion of the more than $675 billion in federal funding that will be allocated to states for important programs, from Medicaid to school breakfasts.”

By last Friday, an estimated 140 million households had received an invitation from the U.S. Census Bureau to complete the 2020 Census. To date, approximately 18.6 million households have responded to the Census. Though data collection continues, the U.S. Census Bureau has modified some of their field operations during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Today, Governor Northam also announced a Virtual Statewide Week of Action, which includes Census Day on Wednesday, April 1. From Friday, March 27 through Thursday, April 2, Virginians are encouraged to virtually promote the 2020 Census and “Determine Your Decade: YOUR Representation. YOUR Community Funding. YOUR Civic Duty.”

A full list of events is located below:

Friday, March 27 – Sunday, March 29 | Interfaith Engagement
Faith Leaders and communities are encouraged to commit to being a faith partner through the following efforts:

  • Religious Teachings: Incorporate Census messaging into a virtual sermon, lesson, litany, or other teaching. This is an opportunity to preach or teach on the importance of being counted in the 2020 Census.
  • Announcement or Presentation: Allow a member of the U.S. Census Bureau, Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth, Virginia Complete Count Commission, or a local Complete Count Committee to virtually connect with your congregation and provide a Census-related message.
  • Video Messaging: Share a Census-related video message with your congregation via email or through social media channels.
  • Social Media: Encourage parishioners to follow @CountOnVirginia on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for Census-related updates. Leverage your own social media and that of your congregants to spread the word about the 2020 Census.
  • Digital Platforms: Work with local media to share key messages about the upcoming Census. You may consider writing an op-ed or being interviewed by a local reporter.
  • Text Messaging: Encourage parishioners to text PLEDGE or CENSO to (804) 203-0393 for Census updates and reminders.

Monday, March 30 | Social Media Monday
Virginians can “Get Social on Media Monday” by following Virginia’s Census engagement efforts on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram. Virginians are also invited to participate in a Twitter chat about what’s at stake in the 2020 Census. Questions can be tweeted to @CountOnVirginia. Promote the Census using the hashtags #Census2020, #VACompleteCount, and #CountOnVirginia. Additionally, individuals are encouraged to change their Facebook profile picture frames to promote the Census.

Tuesday, March 31 | Text It Tuesday: Pledge to be Counted
The Northam administration has partnered with CommunityConnect Labs to use mobile messaging to connect with hard-to-reach populations. Virginians are encouraged to “Pledge to be Counted” by texting the word “PLEDGE” or “CENSO” (Español) to the number for their respective locality. Participants will receive a digital pledge card that can be shared on social media. Standard text messaging data rates may apply.

Valley: (540) 235-5155
Northern: (703) 684-0007 or (571) 200-0828
Coastal: (757) 210-3232
Southside: (434) 201-4884
Southwest: (276) 218-8138
Central: (804) 203-0393

Wednesday, April 1 | Spread the Word Wednesday
Since 1930, Census Day has been observed on April 1. By this date, all households will have received an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census. Organizations are encouraged to send electronic correspondence to subscribers promoting the 2020 Census and sharing instructions for how individuals can complete the Census online, by phone, or by mail.

Thursday, April 2 | Townhall Thursday
Organizations are encouraged to host virtual townhalls via Facebook Live, Google Hangouts, and other platforms to promote the 2020 Census.

“It’s important that we come together as a community to determine our decade and be counted in the 2020 Census,” Secretary of the Commonwealth Kelly Thomasson. “Taking 10 minutes to complete our Census questionnaires online will help our communities for the next 10 years.”

How to Complete the 2020 Census Online

  • To respond online, go to 2020census.gov. The online form is available in English and 12 other languages. Additionally, video guides showing people how to complete the online questionnaire are available in English and 59 other languages.
  • A sample 2020 Census questionnaire is available here.

About the Virginia Complete Count Commission
On December 18, 2018, Governor Northam signed Executive Order Twenty-Seven establishing the Virginia Complete Count Commission. The purpose of the Commission is to improve participation and representation of all Virginians in the 2020 Census. The Commission facilitates the sharing of ideas and community resources regarding the 2020 Census and serves as a conduit between the Commonwealth and the United State Census Bureau.

The Virginia Complete Count Commission serves as a trusted voice and resource to educate, empower, and engage all communities for the purpose of ensuring that everyone who lives in the Commonwealth of Virginia is counted in the 2020 Census.

For more information on the 2020 Census and Virginia Complete Count Commission, visit census.virginia.gov or follow @CountOnVirginia on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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