Lost House Seats, Electoral Votes Could Result From Census Miscounts

A senior adviser to the U.S. Census Bureau recalls sounding the alarm about the agency’s population count in 2020.

“Me and a couple of other people at the Census Bureau were pounding the table saying there are going to be problems,” Adam Korzeniewski told The Daily Signal.

“The sad thing is that no one cared,” Korzeniewski said.

Two years later the Census Bureau admitted to undercounting six conservative states and exacerbating eight liberal states. 

Critics claim that this incorrect count favors blue states over the red states in determining Electoral College votes for the next decade and seats in the House of Representatives. 

Korzeniewski stated that census forms are typically completed at a higher rate in red regions than in blue. He explained that the Census Bureau career staff use certain procedures to estimate population in undercounted areas. 

Because of the COVID–19 lockdowns, far less in-person enumeration occurred in 2020 than in past years. This caused staff to rely more on estimates to “correct the census into what they think it should be,” Korzeniewski said. 

The Census Bureau’s Post-Enumeration SurveyThis chart shows how the 2020 census calculated the total population and created an independent estimate of the U.S. population since April 2020. 

According to the Post-Enumeration Survey the 2020 census undercounted Arkansas by 5.04%, Tennessee and Mississippi by 4.78%, Mississippi and Mississippi by 4.11%, Florida by 3.488%, Florida by 3.48%, Florida by 3.48%, Illinois by 1.977%, and Texas by 1.52%. 

These six states may now have smaller House of Representatives delegations, and fewer Electoral College voting votes than their respective populations. 

The survey also found that the 2020 census overcounted eight states: Hawaii by 6.99%; Delaware at 5.45%; Rhode Island at 5.05%; Minnesota at 3.84%; New York at 3.44%; Utah at 2.59%; Massachusetts, 2.24%; Ohio, 1.49%. 

Korzeniewski stated that if undercounted states decided to sue Census Bureau under the principle one-man-one vote or other grounds, it would be a landmark case for Supreme Court. 

He said that the most likely scenario is for congressional hearings to be held or for a future president to seek an independent review. 

This should be bipartisan. This issue needs to be investigated seriously. Democrats won’t do it because they got what they wanted. One side has political apathy, while the other is winning.

The Census Bureau maintains that the reassessment of its 2020 count is “not definitive.”

“Post-Enumeration Survey estimates are based on a statistical sample and created as one tool to help data users understand the quality of the census counts and help [the] Census Bureau plan for future surveys,” a Census Bureau spokesperson told The Daily Signal in an email. 

The overcount and undercountFlorida lost two additional seats that it should have gotten in Congress and two Electoral College votes. Hans von Spakovsky is a senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation, parent of The Daily Signal. Von Spakovsky stated that Texas lost one House seat. 

Meanwhile, he noted, Minnesota and Rhode Island each kept a House seat they should have lost under an accurate count, while Colorado gained a House seat it didn’t deserve, von Spakovsky wrote. 

According to the Census Bureau, the effect of certain states’ overcounts or undercounts is minimal. 

“The results of the PES do not change official 2020 census data, such as the apportionment data used to apportion the U.S. House of Representatives,” the Census Bureau says of the Post-Enumeration Survey in its statement to The Daily Signal. “Furthermore, the PES universe excludes people living in group quarters and remote Alaska areas, while apportionment must take into account the entire U.S. population.”  

Von Spakovsky stated, “The Census Bureau’s statement continued the work that it had done since May’s release.” 

“The Census Bureau still does not explain how and why those errors occurred,” he told The Daily Signal. “The change in overcounts and undercounts in 2010 and 2020 is quite different.”

According to the bureau the survey is just one method of getting closer towards an accurate accounting of the U.S. citizen population.

PES is an invaluable tool that provides insight into the 2020 census quality, but it is not the only way to know. As a survey, it’s important to remember that results from the PES are estimates that are subject to various errors. Many of these errors are described in the Source and Accuracy statement and other methodological documents.

The Census Bureau’s statement also contends that the Post-Enumeration Survey shouldn’t have a significant impact on the amount of federal funds that go to states. 

“In regards to funding, it’s important to understand that the Census Bureau doesn’t determine funding formulas or how our data are used,” the Census Bureau spokesperson told The Daily Signal. “Our role is to provide quality data through?a host of data products such as the annual population estimates, various surveys, and the decennial census. Together, these data inform how hundreds of billions of dollars in federal, state, and tribal funds are distributed each year.”

Officials consider the 2010 census to have a statistically significant national overcount of 36,000 Americans (roughly 0.01%) in raw numbers. For the 2020 census, Florida was only slightly undercounted, at 750,000, and Texas by 560,000. Minnesota was overcounted at about 216,000 and Rhode Island by 55,000. 

The Census Bureau is still available. argued that 2020 overcounts and undercounts “were not outside the range of variability we have come to expect from prior decades.”The agency added: “So, while informative, the 2020-to-2010 state-level comparisons cannot be considered definitive.”

According to the Constitution, there is no legal remedy to fix the count. Census Bureau’s website, which asks: “Based on the PES results, can states change their 2020 census counts?” The response reads: “The quick answer is ‘No.’”

“Post-Enumeration Survey estimates are created to help data users better understand the quality of the census counts,” the Census Bureau’s website continues. 

“The estimates demonstrate the Census Bureau’s commitment to transparency and are a key tool for the Census Bureau to build and apply lessons from the 2020 census while planning for the 2030 census.”

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