March 27, 2018/Washington, DC – The League of Women Voters president Chris Carson issued the following statement in response to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’ decision to include a question pertaining to citizenship in the 2020 Census:
“Including a question about citizenship in the 2020 Census will damage the chances for an accurate count of our country’s population. This unprecedented change to the way we count the number people living in the United States is a betrayal of the idea that in America, every person counts.
“Make no mistake: this decision isn’t about improving demographic data on citizenship. It’s designed to frighten immigrants—citizens and noncitizens alike—so they won’t participate in the Census. It’s a blatant political maneuver meant to disenfranchise these groups and deny them equal representation. So Secretary Ross’ claim that this question helps enforce the Voting Rights Act is preposterous. Indeed, including this question on the Census undermines the rights of eligible voters and threatens a process vital to our democracy.
“For more than 200 years, the Census has collected information about the geographic distribution of our population so we can provide representation and invest in our communities equitably. A fair and accurate Census is essential to the way the federal government allocates resources for infrastructure, education, and transportation. Census data is critical when determining resources for fire, water and trash collection. Without a complete count of our nation’s people, businesses will not have the tools to make sound investment decisions that keep our communities thriving.
“Adding this question to the Census now is not only unnecessary and jeopardizes the accuracy of the report, but it comes at a huge financial expense. Taxpayers should not be held responsible for the time and cost of changing the forms and making the report less accurate.
“The United States Constitution mandates an accurate count of all people living in the United States – not all citizens. Non-citizens are an integral part of our economy and need to be included in the 2020 Census to paint a complete picture of our great country. The clock is ticking toward 2020. We call on Congress to take action and correct this issue before it is too late.”