There are currently countless lawsuits in the works -- filed by states, cities, groups, and individuals -- that aim to have this question removed from the 2020 census. And we better hope they succeed, or else volunteers administering the in-person census aren't going to find those people -- or if they do, they're not going to get a response when they ring the doorbell. In situations like that, the census board has to rely on its last resort, local and state records ... which won't contain reliable information about people who've just arrived (that's the "immigrant" part of the word).
Of course, we're treating these things as bugs in the system ... but what if they're really features?
The Census Might Be Used To Rig Future Elections
The census also underpins how voting districts are drawn and how the Electoral College works. After the last two years, you do not need to be reminded of how important those things are. The ultimate consequence of a screwy census, then, is a screwy vote -- funnily enough, to the total advantage of the GOP. It's not a coincidence that this census (and some of the ones before it) works so hard to disenfranchise immigrant, minority, and low-income voters through fear of deportation, restriction of access, and the breakdown of favorable local knowledge. Those groups not only all traditionally favor liberal parties, but those demographics mostly cluster in cities, aka liberal strongholds.
By allowing significant undercounts to occur in these areas, the GOP effectively kneecaps the power of blue states in the Electoral College, which act according to the results of the census by keeping elector numbers at the same level, even if more are warranted. Or worse, removing electors in favor of "faster-growing states" ... and what party do you think those states represent?
Scott Olson/Getty ImagesHint: They're the ones that are counting all of their people.