Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Another GOP Attempt to Hijack the 2010 Census

The GOP will stop at nothing to disenfranchise American voters who are likely to oppose the GOP’s only success: No Millionaire Left Behind.

Vitter-DC Madam With the start of the 2010 census just a few months away, Senator David Vitter, a Republican of Louisiana, wants to cut off financing for the count unless the survey includes a question asking if the respondent is a United States citizen. Aides say he plans to submit an amendment to the census appropriation bill soon.

As required by law, the Census Bureau gave Congress the exact wording of the survey’s 10 questions in early April 2008 — more than 18 months ago. Changing it now to meet Mr. Vitter’s demand would delay the count, could skew the results and would certainly make it even harder to persuade minorities to participate.

It would also be hugely expensive. The Commerce Department says that redoing the survey would cost hundreds of millions of dollars: to rewrite and reprint hundreds of millions of census forms, to revise instructional and promotional material and to reprogram software and scanners.

2010CensusHand During debates in the Senate, Mr. Vitter said that his aim is to exclude noncitizens from population totals that are used to determine the number of Congressional representatives from each state. He is ignoring the fact that it is a settled matter of law that the Constitution requires the census to count everyone in the country, without regard to citizenship, and that those totals are used to determine the number of representatives.

(The Census Bureau already tracks the number of citizens and noncitizens through a separate survey.)

Adding a new question about citizenship would further ratchet up suspicions that the census is being used to target undocumented immigrants. That would discourage participation not only among people who are here illegally but also their families and friends who may be citizens and legal residents. That leads to an inaccurate count.

And since census numbers are also used to allocate federal aid, undercounting minorities shortchanges the cities and states where they live… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <NY Times>

This goes way beyond the allocation of federal aid, although I grant that depriving the needy is a high priority for the GOP.  But stealing power is a higher priority for them, and the census is the basis for the allocation of seats in the House and of electoral votes.  The Republicans demonized ACORN for the same reason.  They want to disenfranchise minorities who are more likely to vote for Democratic Candidates.


the walking man said...

If the GOP will pay for the changes without using the federal budget I say let them add whatever question they want. I doubt they could unpucker their ass long enough to squeeze out a few hundred million coins.

TomCat said...

Mark, in principle I agree. In practice, even if they did shell out the coins, it would delay the census sufficiently to render it inaccurate.