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Cook County unveils 1st public computer dedicated to 2020 census

The computer is accompanied by paper resources explaining the importance of the census and staff members will be available to answer questions.

U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., meets with other elected officials to speak on the importance of the upcoming 2020 Census. Monday, Feb. 3, 2020
U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., meets with other elected officials to talk about the importance of the 2020 census.
Manny Ramos/Sun-Times

The Cook County Treasurer’s office unveiled the first dedicated census computer workstation in county government is now available to the public.

“We are opening this office up for people to come and register for the census in English, Spanish and Polish,” Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas said.

The dedicated computer is accompanied by paper resources explaining the importance of the census and staff members will be available to answer questions. Pappas said they will be able to accommodate other languages.

The decision to launch this workstation was in large part due to the amount of foot traffic that the treasurer’s office receives daily. Pappas boasted her offices will see an increase of people during tax season.

With the 2020 census happening at the same time, Pappas hopes this first station can help engage the perceived “hard-to-count” populations in the county. She encourages people to visit the treasurer’s office to ask questions.

This is one of many efforts occurring countywide to dispel the anxiety people feel toward the census.

Over a dozen elected officials showed support for the new workstation and expressed how vital the census is for the state’s future.

U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., said roughly $18,000 will be lost over the next 10 years in federal funding for every person not counted in the census.

Cook County Commissioner Stanley Moore (4th) said this is the “most important census we’ve ever had” and there are challenges ahead of the census that could impede a complete count.

“It’s important to know everyone’s personal contact information or personal information about their household can not be shared from the U.S. Census Bureau with any other body of the U.S. government,” said Cook County Commissioner Kevin Morrison (15th). “It is too vital that we get complete count here in the 2020 Census.”

Households will begin receiving information in the mail between March 12 and March 20 about how to respond to the 2020 census. People will be able to respond by phone, mail or online.

People can begin filling out their forms as soon as they receive their information, but April 1 is observed nationwide as Census Day.

The Cook County Treasurer’s office announced the first dedicated computer workstation for the U.S. 2020 census on Feb. 3, 2020.
The Cook County Treasurer’s office announced the first dedicated computer workstation for the U.S. 2020 census on Feb. 3, 2020.
Manny Ramos/Sun-Times