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Eastern Kentucky Judge/Executives discuss Census strategies

Susan Riddell
Nearly 40 eastern Kentucky judge/executives participated in an informative Tuesday conference call focused on Census participation with Rocky Adkins, senior adviser to Gov. Andy Beshear.

Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Census is of the utmost importance because federal dollars are at stake for every person not counted in a county. It also affects legislative representation.

“When you’re undercounted, it leads to redistricting, and that puts even more stress on our region,” Adkins told the eastern Kentucky judges. “Normally, redistricting starts in the west and it comes east. That’s the way that it’s done in the legislative process. Once you get up in the eastern areas, with the loss of population already and the downturn of the coal economy, it puts even more pressure on us.”

Adkins praised Judge/Executives for being proactive in drumming up Census participation, citing several public service announcements in local newspapers. He also encouraged judges to work on promotion with local area development districts and to stress just how easy it is to fill out their Census and be counted.

A major concern for many judges is the number of residents in their counties who didn’t receive a mailer with a 12-digit identification number or they don’t know their ID number.

The direct link if someone didn’t receive a mailer or doesn’t know their 12-digit code is Here, they can complete the process using their home address. This also is beneficial to those who receive mail via post office boxes.

Judges shared ideas for engaging the public in Census participation. Some ideas from judges included:
• Asking local phone, electric and water companies to put reminders on their outgoing bills for people to fill out their Census.
• Asking school superintendents to do a OneCallNow to parents with a reminder to fill out their Census.
• Distributing flyers through school meal programs or similar groups within your community.

“Let’s get this (Census) count where we need it,” Adkins said. “There’s no more important time to get this right and be counted. You lose population, and you’re not counted, and it makes it that much tougher.”

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