Vol. 35 Iss. 11 - January 21, 2019



Establishing the Virginia Complete Count Commission

Importance of the Issue

The U.S. Constitution mandates a decennial count of all people living in the United States and its territories. This monumental task is one that affects the distribution of approximately $675 billion dollars from the federal government to state, local, and tribal governments. It also affects the redistricting of legislative districts and reapportionment of seats that each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives. The 2020 Census is quickly approaching and all stakeholders should collectively support the efforts of the U.S. Census Bureau. The Virginia Complete Count Commission will maximize such efforts.

Historically, the U.S. Census Bureau has experienced low survey response rates from many communities across the Commonwealth. The Virginia Complete Count Commission is created to improve the participation and representation of all Virginians. It will consist of key community members and will represent the many geographic regions and diverse communities in the Commonwealth. The Commission will operate as a central conduit of information and facilitate the sharing of ideas and community resources regarding the 2020 Census. These efforts will improve collaboration between the Commonwealth and the U.S. Census Bureau and encourage all stakeholders to actively prepare for the 2020 Census.

Establishing the Commission

By virtue of the authority vested in me as Governor under Article V of the Constitution of Virginia and under the laws of the Commonwealth, including, but not limited to ยงยง 2.2-134 and 2.2-135 of the Code of Virginia, and subject always to my continuing and ultimate authority and responsibility to act in such matters, I hereby establish the Virginia Complete Count Commission (Commission).

The Commission is comprised of up to 40 members appointed by the Governor, including representatives from stakeholder organizations, leaders from various underrepresented and traditionally hard-to-count communities, and such other members as may be appointed by the Governor. All Commission members shall serve without compensation.

The Commission, using the local knowledge, expertise, and influence of its commission members, will develop and coordinate a census outreach program to increase awareness about the census and motivate residents to respond.

The census outreach strategy shall include, but not be limited to, state agency initiatives to encourage participation in the 2020 Census, the establishment of partnerships with non-profit community-based organizations, and a multi-faceted campaign designed to ensure an accurate and complete count of Virginia's population.

In carrying out its duties, the Commission may appoint working groups as it deems appropriate, and shall solicit participation from relevant experts and practitioners involved in census issues.

Staff support for the Commission shall be furnished by the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth, and other agencies and offices as needed.

Effective Date of the Executive Order

This Executive Order shall be effective upon its signing and shall remain in full force and effect until December 18, 2019, unless amended or rescinded by further executive order.

Given under my hand and under the Seal of the Commonwealth of Virginia this 18th day of December, 2018.

/s/ Ralph S. Northam