MN Census 2020 Complete Count Communicator

Complete Count Communicator header graphic

News and Tips for Minnesota's Complete Count Committees

In this edition of the Communicator:

Creating a CCC? It’s time to get in gear!

timeline to April 2020

We’re so happy that you’re committed to starting a Complete Count Committee (CCC). We want you to know that we’re here for you every step of the way to offer tips and keep you informed about the activities of the statewide CCC and regional CCCs throughout Minnesota.

Below is a list of benchmarks we’d like you to reach by the end of 2018.

Schedule your first meeting. By November/December 2018, you should be holding your first CCC meeting. Figure out who’s in your CCC (See “Make the ask” below), pick a date, choose an accessible location, and plan on spending up to two hours for the first meeting.

Make the ask. Invite stakeholders and those in the community you have a strong relationship with to attend the first meeting.

Preparing for the meeting: Create the why. Why is the census important to your area? Create a presentation or handout for your first meeting to help educate others on why the 2020 Census matters. Feel free to use slides from this PowerPoint in your presentation.

At the meeting: Assess. If your CCC is large, consider creating subcommittees. These can be formed by geographic boundaries or topic areas (for example: business, faith-based, education, local government, etc.)

Reach out. Take time at the meeting to brainstorm who is not at the table, especially those who work with traditionally undercounted communities. What are some ways you can  reach those people and organizations? One idea: Asking everyone who attends your CCC to invite another community stakeholder with whom they have a relationship to your next CCC meeting.

Know your strategy: Consider a 2020 Census outreach event. The bulk of your first CCC meeting should be focused on strategy (How and where will you reach out to your communities?), defining responsibilities for each committee member, determining how often and where you’ll meet. As you decide the scope of the committee’s activities, consider the benefits of attending a community event where you can do outreach around the importance of a complete count. And, we strongly recommend that each CCC host and promote an event on April 1, 2019, to mark the one year lead-up to Census Day 2020.

We’d love to know how you’re doing with these benchmarks and how we can help you. Please send us your questions, too. We are here for you!

Contact Director of Census Operations and Engagement Andrew Virden, (651) 201-2507.

Minnesota’s first-ever statewide CCC launches

1st meting of the MN Complete Count Committee

CCC co-chairs at the first statewide CCC on July 25. Seated, left to right: Kathy Annette, Sharon Sayles-Belton, Jonathan Weinhagen and Matt Massman. At the podium, State Demographer Susan Brower.

A diverse group of more than 60 people attended Minnesota’s first-ever statewide Complete Count Committee (CCC) at the Sunrise Bank Headquarters in St. Paul on July 25. 

Minnesota’s statewide CCC is made up of a broad spectrum of government and community leaders from education, business, community organizations and geographic regions. Governor Mark Dayton established the statewide CCC and appointed the co-chairs. Together, CCC members commit to developing and implementing a 2020 Census awareness campaign based upon their knowledge of their communities and constituents.

“Statewide CCCs bring trusted voices with large networks together in one room to work on a census outreach strategy that’s best for Minnesota,” explained Brower.

The meeting was hosted by the statewide CCC co-chairs who were appointed by Dayton to lead the committee’s efforts. The co-chairs are: Matt Massman, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Administration, Kathy Annette, president and CEO of the Blandin Foundation, Sharon Sayles Belton, vice president for Government Affairs & Community Relations for Thomson Reuters, and Jonathan Weinhagen, CEO of the Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce.

After short welcome statements and introductions from the co-chairs, attendees learned about the role of a complete count committee and the importance of the 2020 Census from Brower and Director of Census Operations and Engagement Andrew Virden. Later, committee members broke into smaller groups to further brainstorm how they could support the state’s efforts to make sure everyone in their community gets counted.

Brower said she was pleased by the turnout and the great energy committee members brought to the meeting.

“Everyone here has in-depth knowledge about how to best reach Minnesotans and help them understand why it’s important to participate in the 2020 Census,” said Brower.

Next steps for the statewide CCC include connecting with each other through subcommittees, planning for census outreach events in their communities and organizations, and attending the next statewide CCC meeting, which will be held on Wednesday, February 13, at a location to be determined.

View the statewide CCC presentation here, and if you have questions, please email Andrew Virden or give him a call at 651-201-2507.

September CCC training and support opportunities

This month, the State Demographic Center will offer two opportunities to learn more about the 2020 Census and how to form a complete count committee.

Thursday, Sept. 20: Monthly CCC conference calls begin

Join us for the first in a series of monthly conference calls dedicated to answering your questions about forming and managing a Complete Count Committee (CCC).

Every third Thursday of the month, Andrew Virden, director of census operations and engagement for the Minnesota State Demographic Center, will be on hand from noon to 1 p.m. to provide guidance, share what other local CCCs are doing, and update you with the latest 2020 Census news from the Census Bureau and the State of Minnesota.

Date: Third Thursdays of every month, starting Sept. 20 
Time: noon to 1 p.m.
Dial-in number:  (888) 742-5095
Conference Code: 5972753363

RSVPs for the call are encouraged! To let us know you’ll be joining the call on Sept. 20, please email Andrew Virden or call him at 651-201-2507.

Monday, Sept. 24: Census 101 training

This free workshop from the State Demographic Center will cover the basics of the 2020 Census, including what it is and why it's important. 

In this session designed for Minnesota cities and counties, you’ll also learn the best strategies for reaching hard-to-count residents and walk away with the data tools, best practices and action plans for promoting a complete and accurate count in your community. 

There will also be opportunities to share your ideas and coordinate efforts with neighboring communities.

Date: Monday, Sept. 24
Time: 8:30 a.m. to noon
Location: Sunrise Bank Headquarters
                 2525 Wabash, St. Paul, MN  55114

There is no cost for this training. Please RSVP to Tasha Holtman or call Andrew Virden with any questions 651-201-2507.

Minnesota’s lawsuit opposing citizenship question moves forward

The lawsuit filed by Minnesota and 16 other states challenging the addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 Census will be allowed to continue in court.

In July, Jesse Furman, the U.S. District Court judge for the Southern District of New York, denied a request from the Trump administration to dismiss the lawsuit. In his decision, Furman found the plaintiffs’ allegation plausible that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’s decision to reinstate the citizenship question could be motivated by “discriminatory animus.”

The lawsuit, State of New York, et al., vs. United States Department of Commerce, et al., argues that the citizenship question is unconstitutional, politically motivated and is meant to depress responses in “blue states” so that redistricting will shift representatives away from certain states, and those states will receive less than their fair share of federal funding.

The state of Minnesota joined the lawsuit because concerns have been raised that inclusion of the citizenship question could keep people in immigrant communities from responding and could suppress response rates overall, which would have detrimental effect on the distribution of resources and political power in Minnesota.

Read more about the citizenship question and its legal challenges:

Judge allows lawsuit against citizenship question on the 2020 census to proceed (ABC News)

Trump officials say they can't recall discussing census citizenship question (NPR)

A census question that could change how power is divided in America (New York Times)

U.S. census citizenship question panned by scientists, civil rights groups (Reuters)

2020 Census holds special importance, challenges for rural communities

Kathy Arnette

By Kathy Annette

Editor’s note: Kathy Annette is President/CEO of the Blandin Foundation and a co-chair of the statewide Complete Count Committee. Annette wrote this opinion piece to share with local papers around the state to get the word out about the census. Please take inspiration from Annette’s article and consider writing your own opinion piece and sharing it with publications that serve your community.

America’s decennial (every-10-year) census is intended to be a complete count of everyone in the country, but people in rural places often are under-counted and, thus, under-represented. Rural leaders can be getting ready now so that all people are counted in April 2020.

Blandin Foundation and I have increased our involvement in planning for the 2020 Census because it can have big impacts on Minnesota’s rural communities, such as:

  •  Allocation of political power through reapportionment of seats in Congress and drawing of new legislative districts (Minnesota is at real risk of losing a seat)
  • Distribution of federal funds through funding formulas (thousands of dollars per person)
  • Civil rights enforcement through fair housing laws, the Voting Rights Act, and other legislation
  • Business site selection when companies are deciding where to expand, where to bring their jobs
  • Community planning for schools and hospitals

Historically under-represented rural communities with high levels of poverty, as well as Native Americans living on reservations, are traditionally undercounted, say both the Minnesota Demographer’s Office and the U.S. Census Bureau. And these are communities and people that would benefit most from being counted. We can—and must—do better with the 2020 Census.

 Here are some ideas…

1. Local groups—community volunteers to government officials—can get organized now so that they are ready, because every person matters. Resources for forming a local Complete Count Committee, a group of government and community leaders who promote and encourage response to the 2020 Census in their communities, are online here:

 2. For the first time, Governor Dayton has formed a state-wide Minnesota Complete Count Committee and has asked that I participate as one of its founding co-chairs. The work to oversee the state approach to the 2020 Census launched in July, and I am honored to be one of its leaders. I invite your ideas and concerns as the statewide Complete Count Committee does it work.

 Feel free to email me:

New director of census communications joins outreach team

Marisa Helms

Hi there, I'm Marisa Helms, and I'm excited to work with you in my new role as director of census communications for the Minnesota State Demographic Center’s 2020 Census outreach campaign.

As a former journalist, public sector communications is a natural transition for me. I care deeply about people having access to accurate information so they can make informed decisions about their lives and their communities. It is therefore a privilege for me to be tasked with communicating the importance of the 2020 Census so that everyone in Minnesota makes an informed decision about being counted by Census Day April 1, 2020.

Storytelling is at the heart of what I do and I look forward to working with you to tell the stories of the 2020 Census and the importance of a complete count. Contact me any time with article ideas for this newsletter or great stories we can pitch to the media.

Email me at, or give me a call at 651.201.2506.

September 12, 2018


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2020 Census Outreach Contacts

Andrew Virden
Director of Census Operations and Engagement

Marisa Helms
Director of Census Communications



Twitter: @mncensus2020

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2020 ticker

Minnesota groups prep for challenging 2020 census (Star Tribune)

2020 Census: Congressional seats, federal funds at risk (US News)

White House names Steven Dillingham to head Census Bureau (NPR)

Census Bureau faces hiring woes amid low unemployment (The Hill)

Senate bill to require sexual orientation, gender identity data by 2030 Census (NPR)