**FILE** A voter asks an election worker a question as she votes at Samuels Community Center in the presidential election in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City on Nov. 8, 2016. (Kena Betancur/AFP/Getty Images)
**FILE** A voter asks an election worker a question as she votes at Samuels Community Center in the presidential election in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City on Nov. 8, 2016. (Kena Betancur/AFP/Getty Images)

Black Americans must make their voices heard and determine for themselves policy decisions that have an impact on their daily lives. They must participate in the national decennial count of every person living in America that will take place on April 1, 2020.

Every household will receive one questionnaire with about 10 questions that can quickly be answered online, by phone or by mail. The census count determines how nearly $700 billion in local and federal dollars will be allocated and spent by Congress to meet local, state and other needs. The least counted is where the least will be spent.

Beginning in January, Americans will be counted on to go to the polls to determine the next leader who will sit in the White House, as well as statehouses across the country. Some voters are turned off by the way U.S. presidents are chosen, via the Electoral College. The controversy has led to a movement to end the Electoral College voting process in exchange for the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.

Several Democratic presidential hopefuls and members of Congress have introduced a constitutional amendment to end the Electoral College, which started in the 1700s as a body of electors determining the country’s leadership. Of the 538 electors, 270 electoral votes decide who will be the president of the United States in the general election. Two presidents, George W. Bush and Donald Trump, won by electoral votes and not by popular vote.

This uphill battle is gaining momentum, at least among the Democrats. So far, 15 states and the District of Columbia, with a combined 184 electoral votes, agreed to give their electoral votes to the presidential candidate that wins the most national votes. According to the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, the organization leading this effort, it will take a combined 270 electoral votes between participating states to enact the agreement giving power back to voters.

Either way, Black people cannot afford to sit on the sidelines and watch as others decide their fate. They must “stay woke,” vote and be counted!

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WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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