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Fill Out Your Census Right Now

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Illustration for article titled Fill Out Your Census Right Now

Photo: Linda Parton (Shutterstock)

Is your census form still sitting on your end table, waiting to be filled out? Or do you have a sticky note on your computer monitor reminding you to complete your census online? If so (or any other scenario that involves you not filling out your census yet), please get on that. Like, today.

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After the deadline for responses was previously extended to October 31, yesterday the Supreme Court sided with the Trump administration, allowing the count to end early—specifically, tomorrow, October 15. Tomorrow! 

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What’s going on with the census deadlines?

If you’re confused about when the 2020 census is due, it’s not your fault—the date has moved around a lot. According to the New York Times, the original pre-pandemic deadline was the end of August. That shifted to October 31st because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but then was pushed up to September 30th. After that, courts restored the October 31st deadline, but yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling means that the possibility of filling our and returning your census will end abruptly tomorrow, October 15th.

You can read the full Times article to get a better idea of the political motivations and implications of this move—but first, fill out your damn census. Here’s how.

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How can I complete the census before the deadline?

There are three different ways to complete your census, according to the U.S. Census Bureau:

Online

You can fill out the form online at 2020Census.gov until October 15, 2020 at 11:59 pm Hawaii Standard Time. Technically, this means those on the east coast have until 6 am EST on October 16. (But please don’t wait until then.) The whole process takes about 10 minutes.

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By mail

If you still have the census form that was sent to you in the mail, you can send it in the same way—just make sure that the envelope is postmarked by October 15, 2020. (And drop off your mail-in ballot while you’re there, if that’s how you’re going to vote.) Again, it’ll take you about 10 minutes to fill out the form.

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By phone

You can also submit your census responses by phone. This service will be available for its regularly scheduled time on October 15, 2020, which is from 7am to 2 am EST for English- and Spanish-speakers, and 8am to 10 pm EST for all other languages.

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This page has all the phone numbers you need, but just so they’re handy:

  • English (for 50 states and Washington, D.C.): 844-330-2020
  • Spanish (for 50 states and Washington, D.C.): 844-468-2020
  • English (for Puerto Rico residents): 844-418-2020
  • Spanish (for Puerto Rico residents): 844-426-2020
  • TDD (Telephone Display Device): 844-467-2020
  • Chinese (Mandarin): 844-391-2020
  • Chinese (Cantonese): 844-398-2020
  • Vietnamese: 844-461-2020
  • Korean: 844-392-2020
  • Russian: 844-417-2020
  • Arabic: 844-416-2020
  • Tagalog: 844-478-2020
  • Polish: 844-479-2020
  • French: 844-494-2020
  • Haitian Creole: 844-477-2020
  • Portuguese: 844-474-2020
  • Japanese: 844-460-2020

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Wait times may be long, so you may be given the option of having the Census Bureau return your call at another time (on or before tomorrow). If you think you missed a call from the Census Bureau (or actually received one) but want to confirm the legitimacy of the call, call 844-809-7717 (English) or 844-809-7718 (Spanish) to speak with a local Census Bureau representative from 7 am to 12 am EST.

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