FL League urges governor on Census: “The importance of the count cannot be underestimated”

Census field work is on pause. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The League of Women Voters of Florida is urging Gov. Ron DeSantis to create a “complete count” committee and to provide state funding to ensure Florida receives an accurate count in the upcoming U.S. Census.

Thus far, the Republican governor has declined to get behind any state effort, saying he sees it as largely a federal responsibility.

But in a letter sent to the governor on Friday, the League notes other states such as California and New York are funding state initiatives because of “the importance of the count cannot be underestimated.”

“Federal dollars are distributed to states based on these numbers,” the league’s letter said. “Private businesses depend on accurate census figures to determine locations, employee and customer needs. Count(ies) and municipalities depend on accurate counts to assist in planning, building and sustainability.”

“Undercounting results in underfunding for social needs, roads and highways, safety, education, etc.,” the letter says.

The census, which will be conducted next year, will for the first time be using digital and phone responses as part of the counting process, the league notes.

“Therefore, the need for public education, assistance, computer access, etc. should not be underestimated,” the league’s letter states. “State funding would assist counties and cities in designing methods to ensure that rural and minority populations are included.”

The league is asking DeSantis to create a “complete count” state committee and to provide funding for the effort. California has set aside $100 million for its count and New York is providing $40 million, the league says.

The Florida Phoenix previously reported that Florida is among the minority of states not providing any state support for the next census.

The census takes place every decade, designed to provide an accurate and official count of all Americans to include fair representation in Congress and federal funding, the Phoenix explained. Congressional seats are apportioned based on population, and the federal government distributes billions to the states through hundreds of programs and projects, including Medicaid, highway planning and construction, child care assistance and foster care.