Our Greatest Ally in Fair Redistricting: The Census

Our census form arrived about five days ago, right at the start of our intense social distancing. As millennials, my partner and I have never actually filled out a census form ourselves before, and, since we’re big politics nerds, we were weirdly excited about it.


One reason the census is such a big deal to us is the impact it’s going to have on an issue both of us are heavily invested in: redistricting. Here at Progress Virginia, we’ve talked a lot about the need for fair redistricting in our Commonwealth. The most important part of this process is ensuring that Virginia’s census collects an accurate count of Virginia’s population. 

The census plays a vital role in our redistricting efforts. The census takes place every ten years, and its results are used to allocate resources, determine school districts, and also to create state and federal political maps. 

If the census results aren’t accurate, no amount of legislation will be able to ensure our most vulnerable populations get the representation they deserve in Congress and our state legislature. 

This year, for the first time, the census is mostly digital. The envelopes l contain a code that allows us to log onto the census website (www.census.gov) and fill out our census forms.

It’s important that everyone fill out their census forms to avoid undercounting. Here’s a picture of what the envelope and letter look like this year: 

2020 Census Envelope
2020 Census Letter

The government has sent paper forms to older residents and anyone who lives in an area without reliable internet access. 

The best thing we can do is make sure that everyone fills out the census! Luckily, we’re all stuck in our houses for the foreseeable future, so there is no better time to do it! The census is vital to making sure we finally get the fair elections we deserve in this Commonwealth, so everyone needs to do their part to make sure the count is as accurate as possible. 

If you’re wondering if there is anything else you can do, or want more information about the census, we’ve compiled some resources for you below.

What You Can Do

  2. Spread the Word 
  3. Report census misinformation you see on social media 
  4. Talk to people in your community about how important the census is, and make sure they have the resources they need to complete it
    • Host a workshop to develop solutions to 2020 Census challenges in your community and generate commitments to tackle them
    • Due to the coronavirus, these workshops will now need to be digital, so we suggest using tools like Zoom, Skype, or Google Hangouts