ACLU 2020 Census ICR Comment

The ACLU submitted this comment highlighting serious concerns regarding the Census Bureau’s plan to produce a block-level citizen voting age population (“CVAP”) file detailed in materials submitted with the Bureau’s Information Collection Request (ICR) submission for OMB review. Despite the apparent lack of interest from states in obtaining block-level citizenship data for redistricting purposes, the Supporting Statement states that the Census Bureau will proceed to publish citizenship data “at the block level and prior to the April 1, 2021 deadline.” Yet earlier statements suggest the purpose of producing this data product is so that “states may use [it] in redistricting,” despite the now well-established connection of this data to effort to dilute Latino political power by excluding non-citizens—many of whom live in largely Latino communities. Moreover, significant data limitations on block- level CVAP make it inappropriate to use that data in state-level redistricting. Because no state appears to have requested a new block-level CVAP file for redistricting—and the only known use for the data is unlawful and discriminatory—the Census Bureau should abandon its attempt to create such a file and OMB should set conditions on the approval of the ICR prohibiting the creation or dissemination this file. 

Additionally, the agencies supplying the Bureau with this citizenship data do not appear to have complied with the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act, E-Government Act of 2002, and Privacy Act.  If OMB does approve the creation of a block-level CVAP file as part of this ICR, it must nonetheless precondition such approval on requiring each agency supplying data to the Bureau to perform the required analysis, provide notice, and allow comment, given the new use of this personal data.

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