Nikki Nice, Oklahoma City Council member representing east-side Ward 7, has organized a campaign throughout September to increase both participation in the U.S. Census and to register more voters.
“Voting and taking the census are two of the most important things residents can do to ensure their voice counts,” said Nice in a prepared statement.
“Oklahoma City’s census response rate is 64%, but parts of northeast Oklahoma City have response rates as low as 32%. It is important that we end our census count with higher numbers for our communities that have seen the impact of less resources to build better and forward for the next 10 years.”
The series of events that started Tuesday will make it easier for residents on the east side to get assistance in filling our their Census form and to register to vote. Of course, anyone who wants to take advantage of the help is welcome.
The events will be 4-6 p.m. every Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday until the end of September when the Census process ends.
If you or your organization want to volunteer to help, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
According to the City of Oklahoma City staff, these are the times, locations and dates:
- Tuesdays in the Northeast Town Center parking lot, 1148 NE 36th Street (Sept. 8, 15, 22 and 29)
- Thursdays in the JFK Park parking lot, 1824 NE 16th Street (Sept. 10, 17 and 24)
- Sundays in the Spencer Shopping Center parking lot, NE 23rd Street and Spencer Road (Sept. 6, 13, 20 and 27)
Census is critical
The Census asks only nine simple questions centered around the number of people who were living in your home on April 1.
Since the census takes place every ten years, U.S. residents forget what is riding on an accurate count.
How many members of Congress represent each state is determined by the Census.
Legislative districts for state senators and representatives are redrawn after each Census.
Federal aid to states, counties and cities are partly determined by the last count of the population in the Census.
OKC staff cite some estimates that “…each person who isn’t counted in the census survey costs our community about $1,675 in local federal funding per person every year for 10 years.”
Examples of community service programs affected by the Census numbers are:
- Breakfast and lunch programs for schools
- Medicare and Medicaid
- Head Start
- Pell grants
And, by federal law, the U.S. Census Bureau is required to keep all responses confidential and protect your data.
For more information on the Census, go to okc.gov/census.
Nice has been instrumental in several efforts since her election to strengthen the political clout of eastside residents as well as improve the livability of the lower east side that has suffered from 50 years of a lack of capital investment in residential and commercial property there.
The area lost its last full-service grocery in July, 2019 much to the consternation of Nice. She has used her position on the Council to try and reverse a lack of quality food offerings in the area east of downtown OKC and the Capitol.
And, although promises were made by the owners who closed the Super Saver and by Homeland executives to establish new groceries in the area, residents still wait.
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