"YOUR RESPONSE IS REQUIRED BY LAW." That was on the front of the envelop I received in the mail from the U.S. Census Bureau.

I opened it and this is what the letter inside of it read.

Dear Resident:

This is your invitation to respond to the 2020 Census. We need your help to count everyone in the United States by providing basic information about all adults, children, and babies living or staying at this address.

Results from the 2020 Census will be used to:

• Direct billions of dollars in federal funds to local communities for schools, roads and other public services.

• Help your community prepare to meet transportation and emergency readiness needs.

• Determines the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives and your political representation at all levels of government.

The letter said to respond by April 1 at my2020census.gov. I was also given a census ID consisting of a series of three separated four digit and character codes.

The letter goes on to explain that the Census Bureau is using the internet to securely collect information. It conserves natural resources, saves tax payer money and is a more efficient way to process data.

"If you are unable to complete the questionnaire online, the Census Bureau will send you a paper questionnaire in a few weeks for you to complete and mail back," the letter continued.

The final paragraph said that the census is so important that your response is required by law, and your answers are kept completely confidential. If you do not respond, we will need to send a Census Bureau interviewer to your home to collect your answers in person.

Well, I really don't have time for company so I got on line and went to the address provided. I then typed in my Census ID and logged in.

The questions were simple to answer. They asked for the names and ages of the persons living at that address. In my case the questions were limited to my wife and I. It took only a few minutes to complete the questionnaire. At the end I made one final click and it was complete. You can even save or print the screen.

There. I did my duty. I have upheld the law and at the same time helped my community.

Open your envelope and take the census today.

Jeff Dezort, Newton County Times editor, has worked at the newspaper since 2001. Before that he was a reporter, photographer and assistant editor of the Harrison Daily Times.

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