HONESDALE, PA — At their last meeting, Wayne County Commissioners Joe Adams and Jocelyn Cramer stressed the importance for residents to participate in the 2020 census. Chairman Brian Smith was not in attendance.
Wayne County’s census-response rate is low, like many rural counties, according to Cramer. “We want to stress the importance of completing the census because of how decisions are made both electorally and financially at the state and federal level,” she said. “The dollar amount literally comes to $2,100 per person per year for funding, so over 10 years before the census happens again, we lose $2,100 for every person who’s here and not reporting.”
Adams said that because of the current novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, there will be fewer door-to-door census takers this time around; problematic for rural areas.
“Right now we’re at a competitive and financial disadvantage,” he said. “North of Honesdale, most people don’t have internet…. You can’t go to the public library to fill it out because the public library’s closed, you cannot fill it out at the school district because the school district’s closed, and many people did not receive the mail-in.”
Residents who did not receive a mail-in and also do not have internet access can complete the census over the phone by calling 844/330-2020. The commissioners said that they tested the call-in method themselves and were on hold for over 30 minutes. Adams recommended calling first thing in the morning before people on the West Coast start to call in too.
The county has also confirmed that it is ready for this year’s primary election, which has been postponed until June 2 due to the pandemic. Right now, all the regular polling places will be operational on that date, except for Bethany Village Assisted Living Facility, where
Dyberry Township residents typically vote. An alternate Dyberry location has yet to be announced. The county has new voting equipment ready for June 2, but is also prepared to receive 100 percent mail-in ballots if the governor mandates.
The elections office is not open to the general public at this time, but residents can apply for a mail-in ballot at www.votespa.com/applymailballot, or call 570/253-5978 to get an application mailed to them. The commissioners also encourage early voting for those concerned about visiting a polling place.
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