The U.S. Constitution requires an accurate count of all U.S. residents every ten years. This requirement is met by the U.S. Census Bureau’s decennial census, which will next be conducted in April 2020. The data collected in the decennial census is used to determine representation in the U.S. House of Representatives and state legislatures and to distribute billions of dollars in federal funds. It is also used by the County to identify County residents that may need assistance in the event of a disaster like an earthquake, wildfire, or pandemic. As a result, the accuracy of the census is not just a fundamental constitutional requirement, it is also critical to the health, safety, and political rights of all County residents.
The Office of the County Counsel is involved in several efforts to protect the accuracy and integrity of the 2020 census, from participating in efforts to ensure that County residents have correct and timely information about census participation to intervening in a lawsuit to ensure that all County residents are counted. The Office has also submitted a brief before the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of numerous local jurisdictions, urging the Court to reject the federal administration’s unlawful effort to include a citizenship question on the 2020 census.