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It's really important to take part in the U.S. Census. Here's why

Mid-South lawmakers say without everyone filling out the Census, Shelby County could lose representation in the state Capitol.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — What a year.

On December 31st there will be plenty of people who want the year 2020 to get lost.

The year of the pandemic, quarantines, masks, virtual meetings. Don’t forget to vote. And what about the Census? WHAT ABOUT IT.

“For Shelby County,” says Democrat State Senator Raumesh Akbari of Memphis, “... there’s a potential that once they look at all the population counted, that one of our legislative districts will be reallocated to another part of the state. This means we will have less representation at the State Capitol.”

Less representation.

Less federal and state money coming to Tennessee’s neediest County.

It’s just like the old joke where the punchline was, other than that, how did you like the play Mrs. Lincoln?

“We are definitely going to have a shift in population,” says Democratic State Representative G.A. Hardaway of Memphis. “That population shift is moving East, which means Middle and East Tennessee are likely to gain seats.”

Hardaway says, “Our Constitution only allows the state to have 99 House seats. And for the Senate, 33 seats. We don’t make more positions.”

COVID-19 has given you extra time to get the lead out of your pencil and onto the Census forms.

“It might have fallen off the radar,” says State Senator Akbari. “Tell your friends, tell your neighbors, tell your enemies. Make sure that you are counted.”

By law, the Census Bureau cannot release any identifiable information about you, your home, or your business, even to law enforcement agencies. That's protected under Title 13 of the U.S. Code.