Dr. Lloyd Potter on the citizenship question to the 2020 U.S. Census

(July 8, 2019) — In a San Antonio Express News Column, Lloyd Potter, Texas state demographer, interim dean and professor of demography, expressed his thoughts about the addition of the citizenship question to the 2020 U.S. Census. He says adding the question is unnecessary because the citizenship question is already being asked by the Census Bureau’s ongoing American Community Survey.

“From my perspective, the citizenship question isn’t a problem, in and of itself,” he says. “It’s relevant to implementing the Voting Rights Act.”

That’s vital to drawing up a district representative of Latino population growth, which Texas likely will do after the 2020 census. A potential new district should have enough Latinos in it who are eligible to vote. That is, 18 or older and U.S. citizens.

If an area doesn’t meet that goal, for example, because too many of the Latinos are too young to vote, which is often the case, or not citizens, then the district must be drawn larger to include such voters.

The Voting Rights Act requires that such districts give voters a fair chance at electing a representative of their choice. It’s redistricting done right.

Potter calls the citizenship question unnecessary in the decennial count because such questions appear in the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. Unlike the census, that survey is ongoing and always “in the field,” Potter said.

Visit the full column by Elaine Ayala for the San Antonio Express News.

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