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SALT LAKE CITY -- It's time to stand out and be counted. The 2010 census is rapidly approaching, and on Wednesday Gov. Gary Herbert launched Utah's Complete Count Committee.
Every state is being asked to form a group to encourage participation in the 2010 census in order to get people who are apathetic, or not simply not motivated, to complete census paperwork.
"We need to make sure the people who live in our borders understand it is important to participate. It's something they ought to be proactive in helping," Herbert said.
Utah's Complete Count Committee will consist of groups of people who act as census cheerleaders. It will be their job to motivate residents to respond to forms and census takers.
"We have a considerable amount of our residents in Utah that are just not about to fill out the form--they don't' want to, they're lazy, they don't think they need to. It is really up to you to get the word out," Census Bureau partnerships specialist for Utah Daniel Pacheco told Count Committee representatives.
For every excuse for not filling out a census, organizers say there's a reason to take the time to do it.
- The first is money. Federal funding dollars are distributed based on population.
- Another is representation. Herbert says he's still smarting about missing out on a fourth seat in the U.S. House of Representatives following the 2000 census; it went to North Carolina instead.
"We lost out 10 years ago on having a fourth congressional seat by just 900 people,"Herbert said. "We believe we had it, we just didn't get them written down."
Many of those missing people are believed to have been LDS missionaries; the Census Bureau did not allow them to be counted in 2000 and will not allow it in 2010. Bureau officials have said there's no way to reliably count Americans living abroad.