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Secretary Ross: It’s time to fill out your census form | READER COMMENTARY

People walk past posters encouraging participation in the 2020 Census, Wednesday, April 1, 2020, in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood. Wednesday was Census Day, the date used to reference where a person lives for the once-a-decade count, as the U.S. is almost paralyzed by the spread of the novel coronavirus, but census officials vowed the job would be completed by its year-end deadline. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
People walk past posters encouraging participation in the 2020 Census, Wednesday, April 1, 2020, in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood. Wednesday was Census Day, the date used to reference where a person lives for the once-a-decade count, as the U.S. is almost paralyzed by the spread of the novel coronavirus, but census officials vowed the job would be completed by its year-end deadline. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren) (Ted S. Warren/AP)

More than 50 million households, representing more than one-third of the nation already have responded to the 2020 Census. The census happens once every ten years and your response affects allocation of Congressional seats and federal funds to your community for things like schools, hospitals, roads and emergency services (“Baltimore City lags in responding to census; Baltimore, Anne Arundel and Howard counties have much higher rates,” April 1).

Please respond to the Census today. It takes less than 10 minutes to fill out the form online at 2020census.gov, over the phone to the number on the form you received or on paper through mail.

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As of April 1, only 40% of Maryland households have responded. We ask your help in making sure Maryland gets a complete and accurate count of all people residing in the state.

Your data are encrypted from the instant we receive your response, so it is well protected. Your responses are not shared with anyone else including law enforcement. Census responses are protected by federal law, punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

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Almost all households in Maryland have received multiple invitations to respond by phone and by mail. If you have not received a paper questionnaire yet and have not responded, it will be delivered starting April 8. Your state and nation thank you for taking action on behalf of your community by responding to the 2020 Census.

Wilbur L. Ross, Washington, D.C.

The writer is secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Add your voice: Respond to this piece or other Sun content by submitting your own letter.

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