Wayne talks census efforts, election

By OWEN WALSH
Posted 9/30/20

HONESDALE, PA — At the time of the Wayne County Commissioners’ last meeting, the 2020 Census Count was only set to go for one more week. But that was before a federal judge ruled that …

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Wayne talks census efforts, election

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HONESDALE, PA — At the time of the Wayne County Commissioners’ last meeting, the 2020 Census Count was only set to go for one more week. But that was before a federal judge ruled that ending the national enumeration earlier than Saturday, October 31 would seriously endanger its accuracy. What that means for Wayne County is that it has more time to try and reach its yet-to-be-counted stragglers. 

At the time of the meeting, Census Complete Count Committee members reported that the county’s self-response rate was 48.4 percent, two percent less than the final 2010 count. At press time, that number is up to 48.5 percent.

Planner Craig Rickard said that these low rates are due in part to the county’s significant number of seasonal, recreational or occasional lots. Out of the 32,400 overall housing units, less than 19,000 are occupied by full-time residents, he said. 

Commissioner Jocelyn Cramer noted that for every resident who does not respond, the county loses $2,100 per year in potential funding until the next census, for a total of $20 million lost in the next 10 years. 

In other civic duty news, Bureau of Elections director Cindy Furman reported that more than 7,000 Wayne County residents can expect to receive mail-in ballots soon. A recent PA Supreme Court decision, which removed Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins from the ballot, allowed election bureaus throughout PA to finalize their ballots and get them out to residents. 

Furman also reported that her office is receiving more than $25,000 from the Center for Tech and Civic Life, a group that is giving millions to election offices around the country to help them prepare for November 3.

Furman said that Wayne County’s share of the money will go toward a new ballot drop box at the front of the courthouse; recruitment funds, hazard pay and training for poll workers; rental and cleaning expenses for polling places; two temporary staffers; and vote-by-mail equipment and supplies.

“We will have a valid election this year,” Furman promised the commissioners, ahead of what is sure to be a historic election, no matter the outcome of the races.

The final day to register to vote in this year’s election is Monday, October 19. The final day to apply for either mail-in or civilian absentee ballots is Tuesday, October 27.

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