October 08, 2019

Cardin, Van Hollen Press Hogan on Census Concerns

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen (both D-Md.) sent a letter to Maryland Governor Larry Hogan to press for an update on the status of Maryland’s census preparations. The letter underlines a number of concerns the Senators have regarding Maryland’s preparedness to ensure that all residents are counted.

The Senators begin, “We are writing to request an update on the status of Maryland’s plans to achieve a complete count in the 2020 census. As you know, the census is a critical responsibility under the Constitution. Moreover, as the Census helps determine allocations of federal funding, Maryland has a clear interest in counting every resident.”

They note, “We understand that while the State has distributed some funding to local governments and organizations through a grant application process, approximately $900,000 remains for additional allocation.  We have heard from many counties and municipalities that were unaware of the application process or learned of it too late to apply and, consequently, have no funding to prepare for the census. These include many of Maryland’s historically undercounted jurisdictions. We have also received questions from leaders around the State inquiring as to the process for distribution of the remaining $900,000 funds. At this point, it is essential that funding be provided to the remaining jurisdictions so that all parts of the state can conduct effective outreach and marketing activities.”

The Senators continue, “We are deeply concerned that the State has not provided adequate guidance and support to the jurisdictions. The statewide Complete Count Committee has met a number of times this year, but we have been advised that its members can do little to plan critical outreach efforts without more information about intentions for these funds.”

The Senators close the letter, stating, “The 2020 Census is rapidly approaching, and it is critical that the State develop and implement a robust plan to count every Marylander.  We stand ready to work with you to do all we can to ensure that all Marylanders participate in this critically important effort.” 

The full text of the letter is available below and copy is available here.

Dear Governor Hogan:

We are writing to request an update on the status of Maryland’s plans to achieve a complete count in the 2020 census. As you know, the census is a critical responsibility under the Constitution. Moreover, as the Census helps determine allocations of federal funding, Maryland has a clear interest in counting every resident.

Our effort requires engagement from every level of government as well as community leaders and requires resources to reach every household. We have been working to provide additional federal funding for the Census, including allowing the Census to spend what it needs in the Continuing Resolution that passed the Senate last week.

We understand that while the State has distributed some funding to local governments and organizations through a grant application process, approximately $900,000 remains for additional allocation.  We have heard from many counties and municipalities that were unaware of the application process or learned of it too late to apply and, consequently, have no funding to prepare for the census.  These include many of Maryland’s historically undercounted jurisdictions. We have also received questions from leaders around the State inquiring as to the process for distribution of the remaining $900,000 funds.  At this point, it is essential that funding be provided to the remaining jurisdictions so that all parts of the state can conduct effective outreach and marketing activities.   

We are deeply concerned that the State has not provided adequate guidance and support to the jurisdictions.  The statewide Complete Count Committee has met a number of times this year, but we have been advised that its members can do little to plan critical outreach efforts without more information about intentions for these funds.  Jurisdictions that did not receive earlier state funding are struggling to develop their own outreach plans while they await more information about the State’s strategic plan and availability of funding. We ask that you share the process for allocating the remaining funds and ensuring that information and guidance is communicated to local stakeholders.

The 2020 Census is rapidly approaching, and it is critical that the State develop and implement a robust plan to count every Marylander.  We stand ready to work with you to do all we can to ensure that all Marylanders participate in this critically important effort.   

Sincerely,

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