Mayor Gary Christenson is urging every Malden resident to complete their 2020 census as soon as possible. “Time is of the essence,” said Mayor Christenson, “it is imperative that we count every Malden resident as crucial resources for our community and families are at stake.” Late last week, a District Court in Northern California issued an order that extends the census deadline to October 31st. The Trump administration has appealed this decision. As we cannot know how quickly the appeal will be resolved, the last day that the census may be completed is unclear.
In a U.S. District Court in Northern California, the National Urban League filed suit against the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. Census Bureau for their August 13th issued Covid-19 “Replan” that shortens the deadline for collection of census data from October 31 to September 30. The Court ordered the Defendants to produce the administrative record which led to the operational decision to shorten the window by the next hearing scheduled for September 17. As Defendants failed to comply, the hearing date was continued, and late on September 24th the deadline was extended to October 31.
Last fall, Mayor Christenson commissioned Alex Pratt of the Malden Redevelopment Authority and Kathleen Manning Hall from his office to establish Malden’s Complete Count Committee. They met every week to strategize and worked to organize a group comprised of city departments, residents, non-profit organizations, houses of worship and residents. The Committee began meeting weekly in January to strategize and plan events and then COVID hit shutting down all planned activities. Since regrouping in July, the Committee has worked hard to improve Malden’s completion numbers although not in the manner they originally planned - they needed to rethink efforts and strategies.
Working with Marcia Marques, Field Division of the U.S. Census Bureau, the Committee has held many Mobile Questionnaire Assistance (MQA) events outdoors at supermarkets, elderly housing buildings, the YMCA, parks, and school lunch pickup sites. Additionally, with grant funds obtained from the state, they have hired Archipelago Strategies Group (ASG) to launch messaging in Spanish, Chinese, Portuguese, and Haitian Creole for Facebook, Instagram, and WeChat emphasizing the safety and ease of completing the census. The Committee continues their own advertising of social and print media, delivering flyers both virtually and hard copies to students and schools, business and restaurants. They have asked for help from Malden businesses and houses of worship to encourage their patrons as well as their employees to complete the census. They’ve installed yard signs throughout the City and information on billboards and have handed out flyers at MBTA stations. Additionally, the City plans to do a Code-Red to all residents one week before the census officially ends.
There are currently phone banks and text banks and the City encourages all to participate: https://actionnetwork.org/groups/ma-voter-table-and-masscounts