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If you've been paying attention to the drama around the US Census and apportionment, it is clear that the current administration is playing games - delaying because of COVID made sense, and now they are trying to speed it up again.. but read to the end. There is a surprise! 1/12
Here's the play: Under current law the Census needs to deliver to Congress and the President the apportionment by Dec 31. But, they have asked for a four month delay, which the House has passed, but is sitting in the Senate. This would delay the release until April 31. 2/12
At the same time, the President has asked that, for the purposes of allocating the congressional seats to each state, the US Census not include individuals who, based on administrative records, appear to be non-citizens. 3/12
This likely unlawful / unconstitutional move would (based on which projections you read) deprive CA, TX and Florida and maybe NY each of one seat and give additional seats to Ohio, Minnesota and Alabama. Of course, to pull this off, Trump would have to still be president. 4/12
So, enter the move to speed up the census again! The delay has not happened, and if you're the administration, thinking you might lose in Nov, there is a solid rationale for making sure the data is available before Jan 20, 2021, so they can implement their non-citizen plan. 5/12
The non-response followup was supposed to end YESTERDAY July, 31. (Yes, the legal timeline of the census collection has closed without congressional action.) If the administration can either finish the census now, or within a few weeks, they could meet the 1/20 deadline 6/12
But here is the catch! If they close the census now, or soon, the current count would be the basis for apportionment. And states like California have spent over $100 million supplementing the Census outreach to increase completions, while others, like TX, have not 7/12
What is the result? This is going to sound crazy, but if they stopped the census now, California would GAIN one seat, up to 54, and Texas would LOSE 2 seats, down to 34. The attached map tells the story of apportionment with current completion rates. 8/12
Now, two big caveats... (1) this is before the non-citizen scheme, which could bring CA back down to 53, and Texas further down to 33, NY down to 23. (But that isn't going to be constitutional anyways.) and (2) there is going to be more counting, so this isn't the FINAL. 9/12
However, CA lawmakers were prepared for CA to lose one or two seats. If the census were to stop today CA's efforts with the @CACompleteCount would bolster their numbers relative to other states that didn't put big resources into supplementing outreach. Maybe CA doesn't lose.10/12
So, here is the takeaway: The administration might be trying to speed up the census for political advantage. But CA might have spoiled that plan by improving their early count. The push to accelerate could backfire on the administration, which would be hilarious. 11/12
Of course, we should not view the census as a way to play political games and fight over a couple congressional seats here and there. It is more important than that.

Let's have a complete census and stop with the political games! 12/12
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