Redistricting – Census 2020

Aimée Quinn, LWV member and Government Publications Librarian, gave a presentation to LWV members and guests on the impact the upcoming census will have on redistricting across the state.

Click here to see Aimée’s presentation, developed from slides created by Alison McCaffree.

For the first time ever, the 2020 Census will be conducted online.

Redistricting in Washington State

The impact of the census cannot be understated as it will drive everything from allocation of federal funds to creating and/or changing legislative and congressional district boundaries.

Washington state’s strategy for counting Kittitas County residents includes assuming a high percentage have internet access through smart phone or computer.

Washington state has a history of gerrymandering based upon the party in power. It was only relatively recently that the state put redistricting decisions in the hands of a nonpartisan statewide commission and prohibits drawing legislative districts to favor one party or group.

Other possible issues with the 2020 Census count include:

  • Not everyone has a smart phone or computer access
  • young children, minorities, low income, and undocumented immigrants typically difficult to count
  • Census is grossly underfunded which may result in far too few census workers to conduct follow up and verification activities
  • The homeless and persons without traditional housing are difficult to locate and count
  • Vulnerable populations (LGBTQ, non-English speaking, persons with mental or physical disabilities) may also be difficult to reach

The Census Bureau uses a privacy algorithm to protect respondents’ data confidentiality however early indications show that it could inadvertently result in an undercount.

Watch for Your Census Postcard!

The Census Bureau will be mailing out postcards to all residents within the next 7-10 days. It will contain unique login information for residents to confidentially enter the online answers to Census 2020 questions.

Ignoring the census could not only result in a decrease in the amount of funds allocated to our County and State by the Federal Government, it could impact infrastructure funds, state and congressional legislative districts, and much much more.

Be Counted. It Matters!