New York Counts 2020, a coalition of more than 80 organizations in New York, on Tuesday in a press call urged the public to voice opposition to the inclusion of a citizenship question in the forthcoming census by commenting on the proposal in the Federal Register. The comment period will close on Aug. 7.
Commerce Department Secretary Wilbur Ross on March 25 instructed census officials to include the question in the 2020 Census, and the decision set off a wave of concern about the chilling effect this might have on participation in the decennial census, which is supposed to count every resident of the U.S. The results can have a far-reaching and long-lasting effect: for the decade following the Census, demographic shifts recorded can determine not only voter redistricting but also the apportionment of federal funds. New York State, with nearly 4.5 million immigrants, will suffer greatly in the event of a population undercount. In April, attorneys general from 19 states, six cities and the bipartisan U.S. Conference of Mayors joined in a lawsuit to block the adoption of the citizenship question by the federal government.
“As we’ve argued, the Trump administration’s plan to demand citizenship status as part of the Census is unlawful – and it would potentially cause a huge undercount that would threaten billions in federal funds and New York’s fair representation in Congress and the Electoral College,” said New York Attorney General Barbara D. Underwood.
Added Shamier Settle, co-chair of New York Counts 2020 Communications Committee and policy analyst at the Fiscal Policy Institute: “We need to knock this untested question off the Census survey. Otherwise, it will depress response rates and reduce the accuracy of what we know about ourselves and our communities. The census is a pillar of our democracy and if we get it wrong it will distort political power and the funding of our communities for the next decade.”
New York Counts 2020 also released a series of information graphics in several languages, aimed at educating New Yorkers about the 2020 Census.