Ong on Questions Surrounding Political Interference in Census Count

An ABC News report on questions surrounding the shortened timeline for the 2020 Census cited Paul Ong, director of the Center for Neighborhood Knowledge at UCLA Luskin. The Commerce Department’s internal watchdog has determined that the decision to halt census data collection early did not come from the U.S. Census Bureau and suggested that the possibility of political interference is being investigated. “Clearly, there are political motivations to change the timeline,” said Ong, a former Census Bureau adviser who has conducted extensive research into this year’s count. “It’s going to lead to a substantial undercounting of low-income people and people of color, and the political implication to that is very clear: By excluding them from the count, you also bias the reapportionment process and the redistricting process.” He added, “I’m not surprised if this is true because politicians play politics, and certainly one could play politics with the census to skew and bias the outcomes in their favor.”

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