Organizer: National Conference of State Legislatures
The census has been in the news this month with an announced rollback of field operations, a return to the statutorily set release date for reapportionment numbers and a promised change in how those numbers will be calculated (with the president's memorandum signaling undocumented immigrants will not be included). What will these changes—some of which are still in flux or in court—mean for states?
Organizer: Reform Elections Now
Join a discussion of the 2020 Census and its probable impact on the next decade. How we count we count people during the Covid-19 pandemic could have a vast impact on our political system and economy. The Census determines both political representation and allocation of over $30 trillion of government spending over the next decade. Areas with substantial undercounts lose federal and state representation as well as funds for education, healthcare, and other services. We will focus on steps that can be taken now to ensure an accurate Census so that we do not have to spend the next decade bickering over disputed results.
Voters will decide in November whether the next redrawing of New Jersey's legislative districts may be postponed for two years.
It will be one of the more unusual referendums addressing partisan gerrymandering — and yet another wrinkle in the running of democracy wrought by the coronavirus.
Democrats who control the Legislature say keeping current districts in place until 2023 is the fairest thing to do if population reports from the Census Bureau are delayed, which looks likely because of the complications of counting heads in a pandemic. That's a subterfuge for holding on to their seats for an extra term, Republicans complain, while good-government groups say the postponement would deny growing minority populations more influence in Trenton.
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Dorian Spears has spent her whole life in Memphis. After college she worked for a social services agency, on a mayoral task force to curb gun violence and as a county economic development official before joining Momentum Nonprofit Partners, which coordinates local philanthropic efforts, three years ago. As chief partnerships officer, her current focus is coordinating efforts to assure a comprehensive census count of Tennessee, especially its cities, to maximize government aid and political power for the state's Black neighborhoods. Her answers have been edited for clarity and length.
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