Local libraries to help citizens with online census

Local News

DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — The Dothan Houston County Library System is offering opportunities for citizens to fill out their census forms online.

Thanks to a $2000 grant, the library’s main location will have three new terminals meant for people to take the census, although citizens can take the census at any location even without a library card.

“Public libraries around the country are playing a vital role in the 2020 Census and we are honored to participate,” library director Cynthia Plesner said. “We serve as sources of information on the importance of a complete and accurate count, as well as providing internet access to those wishing to complete the first online Census in history.”

Staff members are also trained to answer questions library visitors may have about the census.

According to main manager Derek Tiller, this can give low-income or disenfranchised people the opportunity to be counted in the state population.

“That is what everything is based on,” he said. “That is what our monies are based on. That is what the community funding is based on. It is very, very important that we are counted so that we make sure we have a voice in our community.”

An inaccurate count could have a negative effect on Alabama’s infrastructure, as the population count is used to determine how over $13 billion in federal funds is spent on schools, healthcare, hospitals, roads, and other state programs. It could also result in Alabama losing political power in the U.S. House of Representatives should seats be taken away due to a low reported population.

Tiller also says this information will be secure and will not be used against any participant by any law enforcement agency or court.

Invitations to complete the online census will be mailed out from March 12 to March 20.

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