Take Action Now To Stop the Census Citizenship Question!

In March, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that he had directed the Census Bureau to add a question about citizenship status to the 2020 Census. The Department of Commerce is accepting public comments until August 7, 2018. LWVUS and LWVWA believe that adding a citizenship question to the 2020 Census will considerably increase the risk of an inaccurate count especially in historically undercounted communities. LWVUS and LWVWA share the goal of a “full, fair and accurate census” as the Constitution requires and urge everyone to submit comments opposing the inclusion of a citizenship question.  

Adding this question is a bad idea. Asking every household and every person in the country about their citizenship status – when there is no need to do so – will cause fear and may cause hundreds of thousands of people in our communities to avoid the census. The Census Bureau itself recognizes that fear of how the data will be used could present a barrier to participation in the 2020 Census, impact data quality and would have a disproportionate impact on hard-to-count populations. Adding this question increases the risk of an even greater undercount of communities that are already historically undercounted. The question has not been fully tested and adding it at this late date will increase the overall cost of the census which is already underfunded and understaffed. 

The Department of Justice does not actually need this data. The Census Bureau regularly collects citizenship and immigration-related information from a representative sample of households. Department of Justice and Voting Rights Act advocates have used the results of this sampling effectively to help implement and enforce the Voting Rights Act. The citizenship question has not been asked on the census form sent to all households since 1950. 

The reason to oppose the citizenship question is simple. Adding the question sacrifices the integrity, fairness, and accuracy of the census. Please help us demonstrate that there is a strong public voice against this decision. Tell Secretary Wilbur Ross to rescind his request to add the citizenship question. Please note all submitted comments are public record. For more information, please click here

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