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In 1789 the Constitutional Congress agreed that a census of the new nation be conducted every 10 years. Tasked with the first effort was our soon to be third President, Thomas Jefferson.
It is no secret that Trump attempted to cut funding for the 2020 Census, and shorten the time allotted for an accurate completion. The result was a disaster. At least 14 of our 50 states were badly miscounted: Hawaii +6.8%, Delaware +5.5%, Rhode Island +5.1%, Minnesota +3.8%, New York +3.4%, Utah +2.6%, Massachusetts +2.2%, Ohio +1.5%, Texas -1.9%, Illinois -2.0%, Florida 3.5%, Mississippi -4.1%, Tennessee -4.8%, and Arkansas -5.0%.
Why is this important to you? It’s about your tax dollars, your money. Few Americans understand that the most important fact about the Decennial Census is that for each person counted in your state, $1,000 is returned to you and your neighbors for the next 10 years. If your state is under-counted by 100,000 people, you and your neighbors will lose $1,200,000,000 over 10 years. This is money used for new schools, hospitals, roads, and fire departments among other necessities. Therefore, of the previous 14 states, seven will receive too much money, and seven too little.
This is personal for me. I was in management during the 2010 census. Most of the Decennial Census employees are temporary. When we completed everything involved in the process, late in 2010, we were told that it was a huge success, and our efforts resulted in a savings of $2,000,000,000. It was the most difficult job I ever had and the least pay for what was required, but I was proud of my efforts, and grateful to the men and women on my team.
The work accomplished by the Census Bureau is crucial. Privacy it its most important promise. If any American is reluctant to give certain information, most of those questions are not required. If the name, sex, and age of the respondent is received, that is a valid form.
The greatest obstacle my team faced in 2020 was from Fox News. They lied every day. They claimed that it was a violation of your first amendment rights. The truth is, it’s a federal law requiring every adult to comply, and no rights are violated. Our team had great cooperation from the Hispanic community in Northern Nevada. With the help of church, and community leaders, we convinced them that it was unimportant if any of them were in the United States illegally. We simply needed the numbers. The money would come back to everyone in some manner.
I beg everyone to become informed citizens. You can be a danger to the corrupt politicians in Washington. If they’re not doing their job, vote them out of office. America desperately needs younger Americans and more women in Washington who will represent all 331 million people, and not rule over us. Once elected, too many members of the federal legislature forget that they are public servants. Fascism has not become our new system of government, at least not yet.
Make sure you vote in November, and again in 2024. “The truth lives here,” and this is your country, not theirs.
Op-ed by James Turnage
NPR: These 14 states had significant miscounts in the 2020 census; by Hansi Lo Wang
United States Census Bureau: Detailed Coverage Estimates for the 2020 Census Released Today; by
Eric Jensen and Timothy Kennel