Many conservatives have engaged in a smear campaign against the Census, demonizing the constitutionally mandated decennial count with outlandish conspiracy theories and violent rhetoric. Former Bush adviser Karl Rove, however, is now appearing in a public service announcement “designed to convince people to mail back their 2010 census forms by the end of the month.” Watch it:
Part of the reason that Rove might now be interested in giving a boost to the Census is that after all the right-wing misinformation, Republican areas in places like Texas have had lower rates of return in sending back their forms, which determine political representation and federal funding.
The Bush administration did all it could to politicize the Census and ensure that it fully represented Republican areas. In 2001, the Commerce Department, led by former 2000 Bush-Cheney campaign chairman Donald Evans, “rescinded a regulation issued in October by the Clinton administration that had sought to insulate from political pressure any decision on whether to adjust census figures.” More from a February 2001 New York Times article:
Mr. Evans, who was President Bush’s campaign chairman, changed the rules less than two weeks before a panel of experts at the Census Bureau was scheduled to recommend whether the census should be adjusted to account for people who were missed and people who were counted twice by traditional census-taking methods. The panel is studying the results of the census and comparing them to data derived from a sample of 314,000 of the 120 million American households. […]
Under the Clinton regulation that Mr. Evans rescinded, the head of the Census Bureau — an acting director who is a career civil servant — would have had to make a decision whether to adjust the population counts within five days of receiving the committee’s recommendation.
Civil rights activists noted that “minorities tend to be missed and whites are often counted more than once” in the Census, which puts big cities and areas with heavy minority populations — which are also traditionally Democratic districts — at a disadvantage when it comes to congressional apportionment. Indeed, a chief statistician for the 2000 Census estimated that the count “missed at least 6.4 million people” and “counted at least 3.1 million people twice.”