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Michigan leaders dismayed by Supreme Court ruling on Census count

A briefcase of a census taker is seen as she knocks on the door of a residence Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020, in Winter Park, Fla. A half-million census takers head out en mass this week to knock on the doors of households that haven't yet responded to the 2020 census. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
A briefcase of a census taker is seen as she knocks on the door of a residence Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020, in Winter Park, Fla. A half-million census takers head out en mass this week to knock on the doors of households that haven't yet responded to the 2020 census. (AP Photo/John Raoux) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Michigan leaders are expressing concern and disappointment after the Supreme Court ruling to halt the 2020 Census.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that the Trump administration can end census field operations early, in a blow to efforts to make sure minorities and hard-to-enumerate communities are properly counted in the crucial once-a-decade tally.

The ruling increased the chances of the Trump administration retaining control of the process that decides how many congressional seats each state gets — and by extension how much voting power each state has.

After the Supreme Court’s decision, the Census Bureau said field operations would end on Thursday. (You can still respond online by Friday at 6 a.m.)

The Supreme Court ruling came in response to a lawsuit by a coalition of local governments and civil rights groups, arguing that minorities and others in hard-to-count communities would be missed if the census ended early.

Michigan Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist II said Michigan can’t afford to lose out on Census funding.

“The national count is used to determine where to allocate resources for education, job training, infrastructure, health care, and more for the next 10 years, and an incomplete count will have a disproportionate impact on our most vulnerable communities and the institutions that serve them. In light of the many obstacles the 2020 Census has faced during the pandemic, I am calling on the federal government and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to continue the 2020 Census to its original deadline of Oct. 31. These extra days will give us the needed opportunity to ensure all of our residents can be counted – because every Michigander counts.”

The 2020 Michigan Nonprofits Count Campaign, a collaborative effort to mobilize nonprofits and to partner with state and local governments to get residents counted, said they’re “disappointed” with the ruling.

“Every day matters and an undercount in the 2020 Census would have drastic consequences for the state. Currently, Michigan stands to lose an estimated $150 million annually for the next 10 years. That means losing nearly $1.5 billion through 2030 in federal funding that could support vital programs for local communities.”

“We are aware that prior census efforts have undercounted minority populations, and by ending the count before the Oct. 31 deadline, there is the distinct possibility that Michigan’s marginalized communities will be shortchanged for the next decade.”

ACCESS, a Dearborn-based Arab American nonprofit who has been leading the Census push in hard-to-count neighborhoods, said, “This devastating ruling will jeopardize federal funding for the services our communities need to thrive and cause irreparable harm that will impact future generations.”


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