Census worker, 1940. US Census Bureau photo.

In what looks like yet another attempt to rig the Census to build in an advantage for Republicans, the US Census Bureau will be cutting short the "door knocking" portion of this year's Census in some parts of the country. (Guess which parts.) The door knocking portion is the part of the Census where workers go to addresses of people who haven't yet responded to the Census by phone, mail, or online, to make sure the government has the most accurate possible count of the US population. That's after the Census Bureau already cut this year's decennial count short by a full month so it could get the results to Donald Trump before he leaves office.

This isn't just statistics babble. Cutting the count short is likely to result in a lot of poor and minority Americans not being counted, which could skew Congress and government spending in favor of Republican states for the next decade. Yes, even if Trump and Republicans across the board lose in the November election. Hell of a fiendish plan.


NPR's Hansi Lo Wang reported yesterday that the Census Bureau acknowledged door-knocking will wrap up by September 18 or earlier in the San Diego area, where door-knocking is only about a third complete. A Census Bureau spokesperson wouldn't say exactly where else the already-shortened Census will end its in-person count early. But don't worry, the Bureau did at least offer some meaningless bafflegab about not quitting until the job is done, as long as you don't ask too many questions about what counts as "done."

In a statement to NPR after this story was first published, Tim Olson, the bureau's associate director for field operations, said the bureau is "constantly analyzing their workload and projecting how long it might take to complete the workload."

"When the percentage of households reaches a certain threshold, we actually assign the remaining cases to individual census takers who do everything they can to get a result with all the time they have left," Olson said. "We do not give up, even on the hardest of the hard to reach."

But the bureau's public information office has yet to respond to NPR's questions about what criteria the bureau is using to determine when its door knockers, also known as enumerators, are to be assigned the remaining uncounted households and when they have "finished" their work in an area.

Isn't that sweet of them?

Because Census numbers directly affect how many representatives states have in the House, and how federal spending will be apportioned, the Constitution is very specific that a full count of all persons in the US be done every 10 years. Because the COVID-19 pandemic made completing the count more difficult, the Trump administration initially backed the Census Bureau's request for more time to tabulate the results, moving the deadline to deliver results from December 31 of this year to April 31, 2021. House and Senate Democrats had a bill all ready to make the changes, but Mitch McConnell blocked it because he knows all about rigging systems.

Then last month, the Bureau abruptly announced that instead, door-knocking would end on September 30 instead of October 31, cutting off a full month of in-person data collection. Why the change? As Wonkette's own Liz Dye 'splained,

The GOP whispered in Trump's ear that actually they would very much prefer if we didn't count everyone, because acknowledging the reality that most of the population lives in urban areas that vote blue is distinctly unhelpful for Republicans. That's why the only takers on Trump's request to delay the reporting requirement were Democrats. But President Slow Learner has finally grasped the plot and is now working furiously to turn that ship around before he has to hand the captain's chair over to Joe Biden.

That change also followed another Trumpian intervention in the Census, an order telling the Census Bureau not to count undocumented migrants for purposes of congressional apportionment — which is almost certainly illegal as fuck and has spawned more than a half-dozen lawsuits to overturn the order.

That bullshit was a follow-up to the administration's effort to add a citizenship question to the Census, which was so lazy and clumsy that the Supreme Court said fuck no, you idiots, you need to at least pretend there's a reason other than fucking over the browns.

In one of the lawsuits currently making its way through the courts, lawyers for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund and Asian Americans Advancing Justice argue not just for overturning Trump's order, but also that the Census Bureau revert to its original plan to end the count October 31, and to extend the date for delivering the results to the president to April 2021. If Trump wants to reapportion, he can damn well wait to win the election.

At this point, we won't be surprised if Trump announces the final results of the Census even before the actual count is in, and proclaims he had to go with his best guess, possibly inflating the population of Alabama by ten million, to prevent Antifa from rigging the count.

And if you or anyone you know hasn't yet completed the Census, you can still self-respond online or over the phone through the end of freaking September; please make sure people know that!

[NPR / AP / Photo: US Census Bureau, public domain]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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