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"The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund is simply the best civil rights law firm in American history." -- President Obama

Census 2020


As LDF’s Count on Change campaign around the last Census highlighted, Census data are primarily used for redistricting at every level of government, affecting representation for Congress, state legislative districts, and local bodies like school boards and city councils. Shortly after the Census count, elected bodies go through the hotly-contested and critically impactful process of redrawing election maps. Consequently, the Census count is the basis for every person in the United States to have representation in government.

In March 2018, the U.S. Commerce Secretary announced a plan to add a citizenship status question to the 2020 Census. LDF Senior Counsel Leah Aden issued the following statement: 

“The decision to include a question about citizenship status on the 2020 Census is the absolute wrong move and greatly interferes with the Census Bureau’s obligation to conduct a fair and accurate Census count. In this xenophobic and racist climate, the addition of this untimely, unnecessary, and fiscally wasteful question will reasonably cause widespread fear in communities of color to engage with the Census Bureau around the count, likely leading people to avoid the Census completely. This will be to the detriment of us all. Even prior to this decision, there has been a historic undercount of Black people and other people of color around decennial counts that the Census Bureau should be spending its time fixing — for example with adequate funding and non-partisan leadership — rather than exacerbating as with this decision.

Read the full statement here. 

In August of 2018, LDF sent a letter to the Department of Commerce opposing the Census Bureau’s decision to add a citizenship status question to the decennial 2020 Census. 

Read the letter here. And to read the comments by approximately 140 other groups opposing the citizenship status question on the 2020 decennial Census, click here.

In November of 2017, LDF Senior Counsel Leah warned of other potential threats to the 2020 decennial Census :

"In 2020, the federal government will undertake the monumental and important task of attempting to count each person residing within our country’s borders. An exercise that has taken place every 10 years, since 1790, and is mandated by the U.S. Constitution, it cannot be overstated how important the Census is to the well-functioning, representative democracy that our country strives to be. The Black community that the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), where I work, serves, has a lot to lose if they, like other communities of color, are not counted fairly and accurately in the 2020 Census."

Read the full medium post here. This piece was cross-posted on American Constitution Society's blog