Democracy Counts Newsletter – May 2019

A Citizenship Question on the 2020 Census “would be advantageous to Republicans and non-Hispanic whites”

It’s what advocates have been saying all along. Adding a question on citizenship would have dramatic negative impacts on Latinx voters. 

Common Cause has obtained new evidence confirming how political operatives have spent years plotting to rig our democracy with a Census citizenship question.

The New York Times and other news sources have publicized the shocking documents, written by the GOP’s chief gerrymandering mastermind Thomas Hofeller, which lays out a plan to add the citizenship question on the Census.

Their purpose? Manipulating our Census and redistricting process to be, in Hofeller’s words, “advantageous to Republicans and non-Hispanic whites.”

You can read the documents, and learn more, here.

As the New York Times reported:

“[Hofeller] wrote a study in 2015 concluding that adding a citizenship question to the census would allow Republicans to draft even more extreme gerrymandered maps to stymie Democrats…

The disclosures represent the most explicit evidence to date that the Trump administration added the question to the 2020 census to advance Republican Party interests.”

Hofeller’s documents are a “smoking gun” — exposing exactly how he and his fellow operatives worked to undermine the integrity of our Census, manipulate redistricting, and rig the elections for partisan advantage.


Hofeller went on to help write a draft DOJ letter that argued the question would help enforce the 1965 Voting Rights Act (which ensures that minorities’ voting rights are protected). And the Trump admin and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross have used that same argument. This study shows the administration wants to use the question to give Republicans an electoral advantage. Common Cause argues that the goal isn’t about protecting voting rights. Instead, it’s about diluting the voting power of minorities.

Now that their plan has been revealed, it’s important for all of us – the courts, leaders, and the people – to stand up for a democracy that includes every American voice.

To watch a Common Cause briefing on what yesterday’s news means, and how you can help fight for a fair 2020 Census click here

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