Be Counted: An Update in Light of COVID-19 #DoingMyPart

Cranmer Abacus - A specially designed abacus that keeps beads in position once they have been set

(Editor’s Note: We will soon post a video demonstrating How blind folks can complete the 2020 Census, featuring our own Martin Becerra-Miranda and Dan Burke. It’s great YouTube viewing, but we don’t have a trailer. In the meantime then, we’re posting some of that information here to complement the video.)

So, let’s talk about the 2020 Census. We first posted about this on March 11, the week that Census notices started going out to every residence. We’re working with our friends and colleagues at the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition (CCDC) to ensure that all Coloradans with disabilities respond to the 2020 Census. We want every one of us to be counted!

But our lives have been dramatically disrupted by COVID-19 since that earlier post. All of Colorado is under a “Stay at Home” order now. So, for obvious reasons, we won’t be able to provide a reader to anyone who is blind to complete their Census.

But the Census is still going ahead. The Denver Post on Sunday, March 29 reported that 30 percent of Americans have already responded to the Census! That’s a great start on things. For better or worse, many of us have the time right now, and if we have an Internet connection at home we can finish this up in a matter of minutes at My 2020 Census. Or we can call (844)330-2020.

Get ready Before You Start

Collect the names, birth dates, sex and racial/ethnic background information for every person living in your residence as of April 1 and have it at your fingertips when you go online or call. You won’t be asked any questions about your disability. You won’t be asked for your Social Security Number, and none of your information will be shared with other agencies, immigration officials, or law enforcement.

you received a 12-digit Census ID number in your mailing. That code is linked to your street address, and if you put it in it will pull up your address on the survey. But it might be as much work for a blind person to accurately get that number from the Census Bureau’s letter as it would be to just type your address in.

Well, that’s an option. on the page that asks for your Census ID, just keep going down the page to find the link that says “If you do not have a Census ID, click here.” Once you’ve clicked on that, you’ll be asked to put in your address. works great with screen readers

  • At the top of the page it says best to use the latest versions of Internet Explorer and JAWS. I guess that’s what they tested it with. So we’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and say that it works fine with that combination of tools.
  • It works great on your iPhone using Voice Over and Safari. That’s how martin did his survey!
  • NVDA is the most-used screen reader nowadays in the Windows environment, and Dan tested the Census survey pages with both Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome browsers. No problems at all!

So, all this accessibility means they built the survey the right way. Good, because that’s what we expect them to do!


But maybe you don’t have a computer or an Internet connection. Just call. The phones are open from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. Eastern Time. (That means in Colorado you can call and complete the Census between 5 a.m. and midnight every day.) There are different numbers for fourteen languages, and two numbers specific to Puerto Rico. Here are English and Spanish:

    • English:  844-330-2020
    • Spanish:  844-468-2020

The Census Contact page has the list of other languages.

That’s it! This post has been sponsored by the number “8,” because Colorado might be awarded an eighth member of the U.S. House of Representatives. It all depends on the final count of the 2020 Census!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *