Ensure Adequate Funding for an Accurate 2020 Census

Accurate counting of the population via the 2020 census is critical for redistricting efforts and for undoing barriers to fair voting like gerrymandering. However upon review, the draft 2018 budget gives inadequate funding for the Census Bureau. According to the Bureau, the current funding proposal from Congress would “require unsustainable reductions” to the American Community Survey and Economic Census - both required for accurate counting. In addition, a planned electronic counting system upgrade will cost more than originally anticipated (and therefore would not be fundable under the current budget plans). On May 9, the US Census Director John H. Thompson, a 27 year veteran of the Bureau, resigned without explanation after several contentious meetings, leaving the Bureau leaderless at a critical time when the 2020 efforts would be expected to start picking up. Earlier this year the Census Bureau published questions it intended to ask respondents about sexual orientation and gender identity, but recently stated that it will not collect these data after all--an early indication that the Trump Administration may have been pressuring the agency. Now the Republican-controlled Congress appears to be working to diminish the power of American voters. Taken together, these events make it clear that the Census and its aim of fair representation of all Americans is at risk. The American people have an interest in being counted accurately, and the Census Bureau must be able to do its job without undue political influence, with the funding it needs to conduct a thorough count. Additional reserved budget (appropriations) for 2017 and 2018 are required to enable this critical activity."