Opinion Editorial

Is Census 2020 Important to Democrats?

by Tarek Lucien Radjef

December 17, 2019

Next year the census is going to try to count everyone in the United States. A count as accurate as possible is extremely important. This not only is the basis for state congressional representation but also helps determine how to distribute each year more than $675 billion in federal funds to states and communities across the country. It helps communities finance vital programs such as local healthcare, housing, education, transportation, and employment.

In March 2020, the U.S. Census Bureau will send out information for online responses. They will follow with several reminder letters to further initiate self-response, adding telephone and regular mail until the end of April. Finally, from mid-May to a week before the end of July, the bureau will visit homes that have not yet responded. The self-response phase of the Census 2020 ends July 31st. Apportionment counts are delivered to the President by December 31st, 2020.

Unfortunately, not every state is interested in making sure that everyone is reached. Seventeen of twenty-four Republican-controlled states (including Texas) have not allocated any money for this census while twenty-two of twenty-six Democrat-led states have. However, many municipalities on their own are undertaking a massive educational effort under the umbrella of “Complete Count” committees (CCC). A CCC generally has four sub-committees: Fundraising, Media, Partnerships and “Hard to Count”.

The “Hard to Count” (HTC) people are young children, highly mobile people, racial and ethnic minorities, non-English speakers, low-income people, people experiencing homelessness, undocumented immigrants, people who distrust the government, LGBTQ people, people with mental or physical disabilities and people who do not live in traditional housing. The principal objective of the HTC committee is to ensure that organizations across its city develop outreach and education campaigns specifically in the hard to count areas defined by earlier census data.

The Dallas Census 2020 slogan does have a Democratic sounding tone. “I count, we count, we all count! (Yo cuento, tu cuentas, todos contamos!)” Here we are! And just like with voting, Republicans are not interested in having maximum participation. We think the Texas Democratic Party should be thinking soon about initiating a “Hard to Register” program in communities where a majority of non-voting “18 and over” U.S. citizens are likely, if they are counted and registered, to vote BLUE.

Mr. Radjef was born before WWII in Paris, France.  He arrived in the USA in 1959 with a scholarship at Oklahoma State University.  He obtained a BSEE in 1962.  He is retired and an active member of CCDP, DFWWAC, TIAA, Dallas City 2020 Census Commission, AARP, and ACBL.

OP-ED – The opinions expressed are those of the author and
do not necessarily represent the view or positions of CCDP.