September 18, 2020 Minutes

Illinois 2020 Census Advisory Panel


September 18, 2020


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Phone Number: 312-535-8110 Access Code: 802-409-251#

WebEx Link:


Panel Members on WebEx: State Representative Carol Ammons, Deborah Bennett, former Representative Mike Fortner, State Representative Elizabeth (Lisa) Hernandez, State Representative Theresa Mah, State Senator Dan McConchie, Maria Pesqueira, State Representative Andre Thapedi

Panel Members Absent: State Senator Kimberly Lightford, State Senator Andy Manar, State Senator Iris Martinez, State Representative Ryan Spain, State Senator Jil Tracy

Staff on WebEx: Deputy Governor Sol Flores; IDHS Secretary Grace Hou, Oswaldo Alvarez, IDHS, John Schomberg, IDHS, and Marishonta Wilkerson, IDHS.

Welcome and Introductions

Deputy Governor Sol Flores called the meeting to order at 9:33 a.m. Deputy Governor Flores welcomed everyone to the meeting and thanked them for their work on the census and overcoming challenges.

Public Participation

IDHS General Counsel John Schomberg announced that there were no submissions for public participation ahead of the meeting.

Mr. Schomberg called the roll and provided an update regarding the current litigation taking place in California federal court and its potential impact on Census deadlines.

Approval of Minutes

State Representative Mah moved to approve the minutes from the August 2020 meeting and State Representative Hernandez seconded the motion. The August 2020 meeting minutes were unanimously approved by roll call vote.

U.S. Census Bureau (USCB)

Jeanine Beasley shared that Illinois is ranked 7th among the 50 states with a 70.4% self-response rate, and is on track to surpass Illinois' 2010 self-response rate. Illinois' non-response follow-up completion rate is 24.4%, and the self-response rate coupled with the non-response follow-up rate brings the total enumeration of households to 95%.

The USCB reported that there is still work to be done in southern Illinois counties, and that workers are on the ground to increase the count in counties where the response rate is under 60%.

The USCB reported that the next major field operation is counting those experiencing homelessness. In addition, those who live in non-traditional housing will be counted from September 22nd-24th with field operations expected to conclude on September 28th.

Lastly, the USCB is issuing new paid advertising campaigns targeted at low-response households. Social media is also being used to encourage individuals to respond.

State Representative Ammons asked a question regarding the delays in enumeration due to issues with COVID-19 and the shortened Census deadline. The USCB responded that the shortened deadline was put in place to meet the December 31st submission deadline.

Staff asked for guidance on continuing Census efforts while waiting for the results of pending lawsuits. The USCB stated that the timeline is yet to be determined, but that the USCB will continue to act on the current deadline of September 30th.

State Representative Mah asked how the USCB was reaching low-response households in high-rise senior living buildings, considering current COVID-19 guidelines. The USCB responded that they work with property managers to provide self-response information instead of using door-to-door efforts in these communities. Maria Pesqueira stated that, in her district, Census workers have used neighbors as a proxy to count individuals living in senior living communities. The USCB responded that their standard practice was to use a proxy after six attempts of reaching out to individuals had failed. State Representative Mah offered her assistance in counting the specific property referenced.

2020 Census Grant Program Update

Oswaldo Alvarez shared that he and Marishonta Wilkerson were visiting various cities throughout Illinois to promote Census participation in low response areas. Mr. Alvarez shared response rates for the ten highest and ten lowest reporting counties. An update was also given on areas where follow-up efforts are being targeted.

Ms. Wilkerson provided an update on the Census Office's final push to count areas with low response rates. This includes partnering with the Black, Latino, and Asian Caucuses to encourage these communities to respond to the Census. She added that a virtual event was recently held in the East St. Louis Metropolitan area and other events in Champaign and Peoria. Gospel Census Sunday is planned for Sunday, September 20th to engage church members across the state.

Mr. Alvarez shared an update on marketing efforts. IDHS identified an additional $1 million for Census marketing in September. Marketing efforts are being targeted largely toward African American and Latino communities using various digital resources.

Sean Anderson from Kivvit provided details about the investment: $300,000 is being used for targeted Latino and Spanish-speaking media, $300,000 is being used for targeted African American media, and the remaining $400,000 is being used for boosting digital ad campaigns in 24 of the lowest response rate zip codes through platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pandora, and Spotify. Mr. Anderson stated these efforts are in addition to planned final push efforts during the last two weeks before the Census ends.

Liza Roberson-Young from the Office of the Illinois Attorney General provided an update on litigation pending nationally both as to Census deadlines and the Trump Administrations efforts to remove non-citizens from the data tied to Congressional apportionment. Thus far, a New York federal court has rejected these efforts. Illinois is a part of the lawsuit and provided a declaration that was cited in the Court's opinion.

State Representative Thapedi asked what the next steps were in the second case. Ms. Roberson-Young responded that the federal administration could appeal the decision, but there would be a short timeline for this to happen.

Ms. Wilkerson concluded the program update by requesting that all panel members and legislators complete the FY21 Census training, and that leaders continue to share short videos encouraging people to complete the Census.

Timeline Review

The Census Office reminded the panel that, currently, the U.S. Census Bureau's portal will close on September 30, 2020, and data is due to the federal administration on December 31, 2020.

Future Meetings

The Census Office reminded the panel that they are scheduled to meet through December, on the third Friday of the month.


The meeting was adjourned at 11:09 a.m.