An abrupt change to the census deadline shortened the response period by a month, increasing fears of an undercount in Texas

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After previously stating the 2020 census would run through Oct. 31, the U.S. Census Bureau announced it was cutting the count short by a month, moving up the deadline for responding to Sept. 30. Eddie Gaspar/The Texas Tribune

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For months, as Texans have been asked to stay home to avoid the spread of the new coronavirus, Jennifer Edwards has been doing the rounds at gas stations in a trio of counties near the Texas-Louisiana border.

Moonlighting as a census community organizer, the Tarleton State University professor reasoned that gas stations, like grocery stores, would continue to see foot traffic during the pandemic. Setting up a booth just outside the front doors offered her face time with essential workers to deliver an essential message — please fill out the census.