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Congressman Lacy Clay

Representing the 1st District of Missouri

Clay Urges National Urban League Census Black Roundtable to Help Save Census 2020

April 17, 2018
Press Release
“The Same Folks Who Don’t Want People of Color to Vote Don’t Want Us to Be Counted.” Failure to Reverse Prisoner Gerrymandering Erodes Political Power of Urban America, Deprives Cities of Billions of Federal Dollars, Vital Information

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Wm. Lacy Clay (D) Missouri told the National Urban League’s 2020 Census Black Roundtable that the upcoming decennial Census is at great risk of undercounting millions of Americans, most of them African American and Latino, because of two intentionally damaging practices: the prisoner gerrymandering rule and the highly-intimidating, last-minute citizenship question.  Mr. Clay, who led congressional oversight of the 2010 Census, has authored and is cosponsoring legislation to remove these threats to a complete count in 2020.

In his remarks, Congressman Clay said, in-part: “The same folks who don’t want people of color to vote don’t want us to be counted. The Census is about three things: money, power and information. And unless we rise up to save Census 2020, this rigged, intentional undercount will cost us political power at all levels; billions in federal funding; and vital information to help lift up the communities that we fight so hard for.”

The current census prisoner gerrymandering rule counts incarcerated Americans where they are held in federal or state custody, instead of in their home communities where they came from.  H.R. 5454, the Correct the Census Count Act, authored by Mr. Clay, would reverse this damaging practice and restore political power and federal funding to urban communities. “Prisoners do not magically appear,” said the Congressman. “They actually have home towns. And more than 90% of incarcerated Americans will eventually return to the communities where they resided before sentencing. Fairness and accuracy requires that they should be enumerated as residents of their home towns.”

Congressman Clay has also teamed up with his friend and colleague from New York, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, to cosponsor H.R. 5359, the Census IDEA Act which would require any new questions added to the 2020 Census to go through Congress, the GAO, and a 3-year testing process before they are approved. “Almost every civil rights, immigrant rights, and faith-based organization has condemned this blatant attempt to drive an undercount by intimidation,” said Mr. Clay. “And the only way we can stop this is to regain a majority in Congress.”

For more information on both of these important bills designed to save Census 2020, please go to: