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PNS Daily News - October 23, 2020 


President Trump and Joe Biden square off in their final debate; warnings that "dark days" of the pandemic are yet to come; and food assistance now available for some wildfire victims.


2020Talks - October 23, 2020 


The second and last presidential debate was much more controlled than the first; President Trump keeping to his main themes, calmly rebutted by Biden.

MN Cities Scramble as Census Deadline Looms

Census outreach officials say an undercount can cost states billions of dollars for priorities like transportation projects and education. (Adobe Stock)
Census outreach officials say an undercount can cost states billions of dollars for priorities like transportation projects and education. (Adobe Stock)
September 9, 2020

DETROIT LAKES, Minn. -- This fall, field work for the 2020 Census will wind down. While there's still some disagreement about the ending date, Minnesota communities hope everyone gets the message to participate.

This spring, door-knocking by Census takers was delayed in the pandemic, prompting concerns that marginalized communities might not be counted.

And as work ramped up over the summer, federal officials abruptly announced that field operations would end Sept. 30, sooner than planned.

Detroit Lakes City Administrator Kelcey Klemm said it comes as census participation levels in his community have dipped.

"As we get closer to the end, our response rate has actually fallen below the state and national average," said Klemm. "So, you know, that's not good. We'd like to be above that."

Minnesota's self-response rate for the 2020 Census stands at around 75%; the national average is 65%.

Over the weekend, a federal judge blocked the Trump administration from ending field operations this month. A court hearing coming up Sept. 17 should determine whether the count can continue through October.

In the Twin Cities, community groups are increasing efforts to ensure that people of color and lower-income neighborhoods are counted, especially in areas that have seen damage from civil unrest this year.

Meanwhile, Klemm said he feels the challenging year has placed the census on the back burner for many people.

"I think getting the message out has also gotten lost a little bit during this whole pandemic," said Klemm. "That, 'Oh, by the way, the census is going on.'"

Local governments and community groups say an undercount can have a severe impact because the census determines how federal aid is divvied up. It also establishes the number of congressional seats for each state.

Mike Moen, Public News Service - MN