People prone to procrastination who were counting on having until the end of the month to participate in the 2020 Census have a new deadline — 5 a.m. Friday.

That is after the U.S Supreme Court ruled Tuesday the Trump administration could end the count today.

Mail-in forms will be counted as long as they are postmarked Oct. 15, and received by Oct. 22, according to a spokesperson for the census. Those wishing to be counted also can call 844-330-2020, the spokesperson said.

Online forms can be submitted to 2020census.gov until 5 a.m. Friday.

The Trump administration had argued that the head count needed to end immediately to give the Census Bureau time to meet a congressionally mandated Dec. 31 deadline for completing the figures that will be used to apportion U.S. House seats.

The end date for the 2020 Census has been a moving target since the coronavirus pandemic temporarily halted field operations last spring.

The Census Bureau pushed an end-of-July deadline for concluding the head count to the end of October because of the virus.

But the Commerce Department, which oversees the agency, decided to move up the deadline to late September, then early October, and was thwarted both times by a federal judge in California.

According to the Census Bureau, McCracken County has a self-response rate of 71.8%, slightly higher than the Kentucky self-response rate of 68.1%.

McCracken County Judge-Executive Craig Clymer is a member of the Paducah-McCracken County Complete Count Committee, which partnered with the Census Bureau to encourage citizens to respond to the census questionnaire to ensure a complete local count.

“I don’t know what else we needed to do to get people to respond,” said Clymer, who along with other local officials has been stressing the need for an accurate count for several months.

“It’s just incredibly important to respond and be counted,” he said. “I guess one way you can put it is the fewer people that are counted in our community indirectly causes us to have to generate more revenue on our own.

“In other words, the federal money (we receive) is based in many cases on the number of people in our community.

“And so, if we go undercounted by any significant number, then somebody’s got to make it up and that falls on the county, the city and the state to generate revenue and that means taxes,” he said.

Federal funds, grants and support to states, counties and communities are based on population totals and breakdowns by sex, age, race and other factors.

Local governments use the census to ensure public safety and plan new development such as schools and hospitals.

Businesses use census data to decide where to build factories, offices and stores leading to jobs in the community.

According to the Census Bureau figures, Paducah’s population estimate July 1, 2019, was 24,865, and McCracken County’s, 65,418.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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