On June 8, 2018, the United States House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on “Questions regarding the US Census.” The Committee heard testimony and feedback from witnesses who had opinions on a citizenship question being asked on the 2020 US Census.
Steve Marshall, the Alabama Attorney General, stressed the importance of a US citizenship question being asked on the census in order to maintain proper electoral votes and representation in the House of Representatives. He stated: “If the rule is implemented, states with lower illegal alien populations risk losing representation in the U.S. House of Representatives and votes in the Electoral College to states with higher illegal alien populations.” He argued that the states with higher populations of illegal aliens would gain electoral votes and US House seats they do not deserve if a question on citizenship is not asked on the 2020 US Census.
Christian Adams, President and General Counsel of the Public Interest Legal Foundation, in his testimony to the committee, stated how African-American communities would be disadvantaged by the failure to put a question regarding citizenship on the census. He argued that large African-American communities would not have any proper political representation due to legislative districts being drawn improperly. He added that the citizenship question would help with the proper enforcement of the Voting Rights Act, since African-Americans cannot bring a proper civil rights claim without having a majority in a legislative district. He stated that without the US Census question, “there will be plenty of jurisdictions where the statistical fog created by the lack of robust citizenship data will mean minorities in some jurisdictions may never enjoy effective protections against vote dilution in the Voting Rights Act.”
Maintaining accurate voter data will mean that legislative districts can be drawn properly and truly be proportionate to the voters who are eligible to vote. The US Census citizenship question can also ensure that all eligible voting minority groups can be afforded the proper protections under the Voting Rights Act.