Montana Governor Steve Bullock today sent a letter to House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy and Ranking Member Elijah Cummings ahead of the Progress Report on the 2020 Census hearing tomorrow, May 8, 2018, specifically addressing reports senior administration officials have directed the Census Bureau to include a citizenship question on the 2020 Census.
“The federal officials who administer the Census have a special public trust: follow the Constitution, and steer clear of political games that would distort the results of the Census. After all, simply counting shouldn’t be that hard,” wrote Governor Bullock. “There is no place for the ugly, racial history of gerrymandering to rear its head again through the Census.”
Bullock expressed concerns the new question would “disproportionately target underrepresented communities, citizens and noncitizens alike,” and “threaten to dilute the voices of American Indians, Hispanics, Asian Americans, African Americans, and others in our democratic system of government.”
“The Constitution requires an enumeration of all persons in an area, not just citizens," he continued. “A citizenship question – such as the one proposed – chills participation in the Census process and risks undercounting persons in areas with large minority populations.”
“Montanans have first-hand experience with the effects of undercounting in the Census. According to the National Congress of American Indians and the Native American Rights Fund, 'in the most recent Census, nearly five percent of Native people on reservations were missed, more than double the undercount rate of the next closest population group. In the 1990 Census, the net undercount for American Indians on reservations was more than 12 percent,” Bullock wrote.
Read Governor Bullock’s full letter here.