PA Elections Legislation Includes $4M for Census Efforts; Enumerator Recruiting Begins

Legislation to update Pennsylvania’s election laws and pay for upgrades to voting machines includes up to $4 million to help ensure an accurate 2020 Census count in the Commonwealth.

The law, signed by Gov. Tom Wolf on Oct. 31,  is a significant change. It allows anyone to cast a mail-in ballot without giving a reason for needing one, permits registration within 15 days of an election, instead of 30 days, permits submission of absentee ballots until the polls close on election day and ends straight-ticket voting. Read more. 

It also authorizes the state to borrow $90 million to reimburse counties for part of the cost of updating to voter-verifiable paper trail systems to enhance security and confidence in elections.

LAMPa had been advocating for $1 per person, or $13 million, as recommended by a state Census commission, to be included in the state budget for census outreach.  The Census determines the state’s representation in Congress as well as billions in federal dollars for everything from health care to education and transportation. The administration estimated that Pennsylvania would lose $2,100 for each person not counted. People in poor, non-white,  and marginalized communities are most vulnerable to under-count, which undercuts representation and aid for those communities. An accurate count is an issue of justice.

LAMPa is part of a coalition equipping communities to help ensure that everyone is counted and will be providing synods and congregations with tools to assist in the coming months. Contact us to learn how you can help and sign up to receive materials and guidance as soon as they are available. 

The U.S. Census Bureau launched its nationwide 2020 Census recruitment campaign to recruit and hire the nearly 500,000 people needed to ensure a fair and accurate 2020 Census. These census workers (known as enumerators) will go door to door to count those households that did not mail back their census forms in April. Encouraging people within hard-to-count neighborhoods to work for the 2020 Census can help ensure people in these communities hear from trusted voices when an enumerator comes to their door.

In addition, the Census Bureau has recently received authorization to hire work authorized bilingual noncitizens – mainly to be enumerators – where the Bureau is not able to find enough citizens with the necessary language skills.

For more background on the Bureau’s hiring process and how can you help recruit people to apply, please refer to:

• the Census Bureau’s 2020 Census Recruitment Toolkit

• the Census Bureau’s Frequently Asked Questions page for 2020 Census jobs

• this Census Counts and Funders Census Initiative webinar on the Bureau’s recruitment and hiring strategies featuring National Urban League, Community Connect Labs, American Library Association, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights under Law and moderated by Terri Ann Lowenthal (Recording + slide deck)

• Page 22 and 29 of the National Urban League’s 2020 Census Resource Guide

Below are some background and talking points that may be useful as you talk to potential applicants or create content, as well as some sample tweets. The Census Bureau’s 2020 Census Recruitment Toolkit has social media and email templates that may also be useful.


As you encourage people to apply for 2020 Census jobs, you may run into questions about the application process. Here’s some information that may be helpful:

The application is entirely online. This will, no doubt, provide a barrier to many people who lack reliable internet access. If your local library or your organization’s offices can help get people in front of a computer, make sure to let them know.

• Applicants will need access to email. Applicants first have to register/create an account in order to begin the process. After creating the account, they will receive a confirmation email with a link to access the job application.

Selective Service numbers are needed. On many job applications applicants who were assigned male at birth and born after December 31, 1959 only need to confirm that they are registered with the Selective Service System. However, the 2020 Census will require applicants to include their Selective Service numbers. Our understanding is that the application form will link applicants to a website where they can locate this number.

• Work-eligible non-citizens with language skills can apply to census jobs. The Census Bureau has recently received authorization to hire work authorized bilingual noncitizens – mainly to be enumerators – where the Bureau is not able to find enough citizens with the necessary language skills. Currently the hiring portal and recruiting “Frequently Asked Questions” document have not been updated to reflect this change; however this will be adjusted in the next several weeks.

Talking Points

• The U.S. Census Bureau is hiring more than half a million people to help support the 2020 Census, and they’re looking for people just like you. You could make up to $30 an hour (pay rate by location here) as a census taker, recruiting assistant, office clerk, or supervisory staff.

• The 2020 Census will determine the resources and political representation your community receives. These temporary jobs are a great way to earn extra income, while helping to ensure our community has the funding it needs to pay for schools, roads, and health care.

• The people reaching out to your neighborhoods for the 2020 Census should reflect what our community really looks like. They should understand our backgrounds, and be able to make sure that people who don’t speak English get counted too. The Census Bureau understands that and is looking to hire people who speak non-English languages, and those who live in neighborhoods with large immigrant populations.

• The application is quick and easy, and it’s all online. Just hop on your phone, grab your computer, or visit a library — and head to

• Apply for the 2020 Census today and do your part to make a difference in your community.

Sample Tweets

Note: The Bureau is using the hashtags #2020CensusJobs and #ApplyNow. #ApplyNow may get crowded with information from non-related campaigns/jobs so we recommend using #2020CensusJobs and/or #CensusCounts.

• When it comes to the 2020 Census, every person counts. And every language should count too. Use your language skills to help @USCensusBureau ensure that people who don’t speak English aren’t left out of the count. #CensusCounts #2020CensusJobs

• Looking to help strengthen your community while earning extra income? Apply for a 2020 Census job and help ensure that you and your neighbors have the funding you’ve earned and the political representation you deserve. #CensusCounts #2020CensusJobs

• Got school? Got work? Not a problem. @USCensusBureau has thousands of temporary part-time 2020 Census jobs with flexible hours. You can help your community after school or after work, all while earning extra income. Learn more here: #CensusCounts

• Every decade, we count every person. But we need your help. @USCensusBureauis hiring half a million people across the country for temporary part-time 2020 Census jobs and one of them could be you! #CensusCounts #2020CensusJobs

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