Census Bureau Reversal Reeks of Politics

Statement of Keshia Morris Desir

The Census is the bedrock of our democracy, and we cannot afford to politicize the count. But that is exactly what political appointees to the Census Bureau are doing in reversing course and shortening the enumeration period against the recommendations of career staff who insisted they required additional time to conduct an accurate census count during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Black, Latino, Native American, children under the age of 5, immigrant and rural communities will all be undercounted and shortchanged by a condensed count. That means they will get less funding for hospitals, schools, and roads. And they will get less representation in Congress, but that appears to be exactly the point.

Thomas Hofeller, the longtime top redistricting strategist for the Republican National Committee, produced a study for his GOP colleagues stating that the exclusion of these non-citizen populations from the census and apportionment counts would “be advantageous to Republicans and non-Hispanic whites.” When the political appointees push sudden policy changes against the recommendations of census professionals, and those changes are designed to erase the very populations that Hofeller advocated to be excluded, it is difficult to come up with any explanation but Republican and white advantage.