You probably already know that the census, taken every ten years, is the source of the data that are used to determine how many congressional representatives each state has and to redraw state legislative districts. The next census is in 2020, and there is controversy over a move made by the Trump administration to include a question about citizenship in that census.
Districts are drawn up on the basis of total population, not the population of citizens, and critics of the move made by the administration argue that the inclusion of the question will make it less likely that non-citizens will complete the census, thereby artificially depressing the population statistics for areas with high immigrant populations. It also leaves open the possibility that states may choose to use the population of citizens to draw boundaries for state legislative boundaries, something that hasn't yet been tested in the Supreme Court.
What is the impact of this for North Carolina? We all know that state legislative boundaries are a hot topic in our state. Just this week, Attorney General Josh Stein has joined with multiple other states to file a lawsuit seeking to strike the question from the census. He claims that North Carolina could lose out on millions of dollars of federal funding if our large immigrant population chooses not to return the census rather than fill out the citizenship question.
If you care about this topic, make sure you know where your candidates stand on the issue of how legislative boundaries are drawn in North Carolina.
Find out more:
WRAL: NC among states, cities suing over census question
N&O: 2020 Census citizenship question could spur legal battle over citizen-only redistricting
NC Policy Watch: Civil rights, immigrant advocacy groups condemn new Census question on citizenship; California sues
Washington Post: Fact-checking claims about Trump’s citizenship question in the census
Charlotte Observer: The new Census is the newest voter suppression tool