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Wednesday, Sept. 30, is the deadline for two pretty cool things.
First and foremost, it’s the deadline for filling out the census. President Trump, the Census Bureau and Congress have volleyed the deadline back and forth since April, when Trump agreed with the Census Bureau that Congress needed to give an extension of at least 120 days to the original July 31 deadline.
"They have to give it," Trump said of a Congressional extension in light of the Coronavirus. "I think 120 days isn't nearly enough."
However, Congress has still not given an extension. The administration came up with an Oct. 31 extension, and then rescinded that, revising it to the Sept. 30 deadline. And, of course, there are two federal lawsuits against the administration regarding moving the deadline up again.
It is all so very 2020.
However, everyone should adhere to the Sept. 30 deadline, especially when it only takes a few minutes at www.census.gov to fill it out. We in New Mexico need to have everyone who lives here fill out the form. Every decade, we fall short of our anticipated numbers, which costs our already struggling state millions of dollars. Billions of dollars if you add up what can be lost over a decade.
An undercount in New Mexico means lost money for many important services, disproportionately affecting people in the rural areas of the state, and others already disadvantaged.
Even if you’ve already filled yours out, make sure your friends, family and neighbors get theirs done as well. When I did mine, back in the spring, it took me less than five minutes.
So, get that census done.
Sept. 30 is also the deadline to nominate candidates in Bulletin’s Best, the Las Cruces Bulletin’s contest to claim the best in more than 300 categories.
The negative consequences of nonparticipation in Bulletin’s Best are not nearly as dire as those for a Census undercount. Unlike the census, though, you can participate multiple times in Bulletin’s Best, and you should, if you want your nominees to make it to the voting round.
In each of the categories, the five candidates with the most nominations will move on to the live voting round, which begins Oct. 1 and will last through the month.
In some categories, moving to the voting round is a shoo-in. The other day, I checked a few random categories. For example, in best off-road vehicle dealer, there were only two nominees. Las Cruces Motorsports had 59 nominations, and The Power Center had 29.
Other categories are a different story.
In the Life is Good in Las Cruces division, the best red chile enchiladas category had 27 nominees. And while El Sombrero was leading with 21 nominations, there were several others very close, and still plenty of time for even those with only one nominations, such as Saenz Gorditas or Los Compas, to not only make the top five, but take the lead.
Remember, each person can nominate every day, and on up to four different devices. That appears to be what has happened so far in the church category, where 36 different churches have received nominations. When I checked, Power of Praise Fellowship had a commanding lead with 148 nominations. In distant second place was Landmark Church, with 66.
Go to www.lascrucesbulletin.com/bulletins-best/ and support your favorite nominees. And if you haven’t been to Bulletin’s Best, go to our website and check out the categories and make your nominations.
2020 GENERAL ELECTION
And while we want you to have fun with the Bulletin’s Best voting, we want you to take very seriously voting in the 2020 general election. Early voting begins Oct. 6. If you want to vote by mail, you can download an application at www.nmvote.org, or send an email request to firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications need to be returned by Oct. 20, but you should do it as soon as possible to account for any delays.
Early voting has made things very easy and efficient in Dona Ana County the past few years, even including several Saturday voting dates, and the opportunity to vote in locations convenient to you, not just in your precinct. If you are concerned about Covid-19 and worried about crowds, I think you’ll find early voting will ease some of those concerns.
Even though I love the excitement of voting on the actual Election Day, which is Nov. 3 this year, I’ve voted early the past several elections, and the number of locations and variety of hours can almost assure you can vote quickly and without crowds. Also, if you vote early, and you do find a crowded polling place, you can turn around and go back, and either go to a different polling place or vote on a later day.
Whatever you do, however you do it, vote.