Entire Communities in Danger of Going Uncounted in 2020 Census, Says O’Halleran

September 4, 2020
Press Release

VILLAGE OF OAK CREEK—After recent announcements that the U.S. Census Bureau’s enumeration process would be cut short by one month, and reports that these changes will leave many Americans uncounted, Congressman Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01) sent a letter to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce Wilbur Ross requesting answers about plans that must be in place to ensure that all Americans are properly counted and recorded in 2020.

“COVID-19 has presented significant challenges and complicated our 2020 Census operations greatly; in Arizona, entire communities, including many tribal communities, remain undercounted or even uncounted because of this pandemic,” said O’Halleran. “I am demanding swift answers from Secretary Ross as to why these cuts to operations were made and what is being done to ensure that all Americans are represented in this decade’s census.”

In the letter, O’Halleran asks:

  1. What data, statistics, analysis, and other information went into the decision to shorten the enumeration deadline from October 31 to September 30?
  2. Did any individuals at the White House, Department of Commerce, or other Executive Branch departments have any influence over this decision? If so, please provide copies of all correspondence between the Department of Commerce, U.S. Census Bureau, other Executive Branch departments, and the Administration.
  3. Did your Department consult with Tribal governments while determining how to properly enumerate Tribal populations?
  4. Why was the timeline shortened when it was well-known that these communities were difficult to enumerate, especially considering the challenges associated with COVID-19?
  5. How has the Census Bureau adjusted its hiring practices to quickly scale and hire enough enumerators to properly ensure an accurate enumeration?
  6. If there is difficulty in hiring enumerators, has the U.S. Census Bureau made requests to Congress to increase pay or benefits for enumerators?
  7. What additional ideas are being considered and deployed to ensure that communities, especially Tribal communities, will be properly enumerated?

View the full letter, HERE.

Last month, O’Halleran joined a group of over 80 colleagues on a letter to Congressional leadership calling for the extension of reporting and transmission deadlines for the 2020 Census and the allocation of $400 million to address continued challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic.