Getting ahead of the (census) numbers game

Local News

ILLINOIS (WCIA) — The 2020 Census is just around the corner and already, some lawmakers are embarking on a new plan to make sure it’s accurate.

Last time, reports showed more than one million people nationwide were missing from the count. The vast majority were minorities. This time around, lawmakers are launching a commission to target them.

At the Capitol, people are forming a group called the Illinois Complete County Commission. The plan is to get full participation through a strategical outreach program.

Leaders of the state’s NAACP, who are already on the job say, last time around, the results were a wake-up call.

Right now, they’re going door-to-door telling people why they need to fill out the census and just sum up how vital the census is. It sets the tone politically and economically for the next decade.

Population numbers are important for funding government services, drawing district maps and ultimately picking up representation in government.

Those supporting the commission say the last batch of numbers were a shame, especially for people of color. This time, they’re trying to get ahead of the game.

One issue still causing frustration is the question of citizenship. Many in the Hispanic community say it will deter undocumented immigrants from participating.

Right now, Illinois is one of more than a dozen states suing the Trump administration over this. The Justice Department says the data is needed to help enforce the Voting Rights Act.

Reports show the census didn’t just underrepresent people of color, but also people who are low-income and renters. The commission passed this year and an execution plan is reportedly already in the works.

This week, a newly released memo reveals one of the men in charge of the census warned a question asking about citizenship status would be costly and harmful to the count.

The memo states it will cost, at minimum, an additional $27.5 million. Still, the Trump administration defends it saying it is necessary and recommended by the United Nations.

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