“THIS JUST IN …” one of them began. He then explained how enumerators should simulate data to mark households as having only one resident even if they had no idea of the demographics lived there.
The purpose of the October texts, obtained by the Associated Press, was to tick as many families as possible from the list of people to attend the census because residents had never completed census questionnaires. The supervisor wanted the census takers to wrap things up – without interviewing households — as the Trump administration waged a legal battle to end the once-per-decade people count early.
The texts are the latest evidence to suggest that census accuracy has been sacrificed for speed as enumerators and supervisors rushed to complete a master census last month. Critics argue the timeline has been shortened by two weeks so that the Trump administration can enforce a presidential order illegally excluding residents of the country from the numbers used for the breakdown of congressional districts.
The text instructions stated that if two unsuccessful attempts were made to interview household members, as well as two failed attempts to solicit landlords or neighbours about the residents of the houses, enumerators should indicate that only one person lived there.
The enumerator who provided the texts requested anonymity due to privacy concerns and said she refused to follow the text’s guidance because he believed this would falsify the data. She declined to name the supervisor, who was only identified by his name in the text screenshots seen by the A.P.
The U.S. Census Bureau has denied all attempts to systematically falsify information during the 2020 census, which is critical in determining congressional seat allocation and federal spending. But the A.P. has recorded similar instructions sent to census officials in other regions of the United States.
Census Bureau spokesperson Michael Cook said the agency was investigating the Alabama case and has found no irregularities in the data. If there appear to be issued with data collection, the agency can take steps such as reviewing households to improve accuracy, he said.
“We take falsification allegations very seriously,” Cook said.
Also, more than two dozen enumerators and supervisors had contacted the A.P. since the beginning of the month, telling similar stories of corners being cut in a rush to close cases as the Trump administration wanted to end the census before the October 31 deadline which had been established in response to the pandemic.
More recent cases include a Baltimore census chief who said thousands of addresses had been manually marked as completed with no evidence that residents were interviewed.
The Alabama supervisor included in her text a photo of her handwritten instructions listing the 15 steps. She also said that they would have allowed census officers to flag in their office-issued iPhones that only one person lived in a house without interview someone about the demographic composition of the household. or the number of people who live there.
The instructions to Alabama census takers were sent a week before the Supreme Court issued a ruling, allowing the Trump administration to terminate field operations for the 2020 census on October 15 instead of October 31.
The Census Bureau said it had collected information during field operations for about 99.9% of U.S. households. At the height of the census knock-on phase in mid-August, there were over 285,000 temporary enumerators on the office payroll.
In Baltimore, Census Supervisor Amanda Colianni said she believed 5,300 cases in the neighbourhoods she managed had been closed prematurely and removed from the door-to-door effort after a single attempt by enumerators to interview household members in mid-September. The Census Bureau was working towards what officials at the time believed would end early October 5 for the census.
Colianni said she did not know why the cases were deleted or how they were resolved. Still, the government records might have been used to fill in the information gaps if there was detailed data from the IRS, Social Security Administration, or other agencies. The households.
An external census advisory group warned this month that populating large numbers of households with administrative data in the latter stages of the census process suggested that high-quality data for addresses did not exist. If this were the case, the group said, it would have been used to save the census-counters time.
“I know the management level in Baltimore was trying to push, push, push to get everything done,” Colianni said. “There was no possible way we could have any semblance of a reasonable completion rate by October 5.”
The coalition’s trial in San Jose, California, said the deadline for finishing the count was changed from late October to late September to ensure the census takes place while President Donald Trump was always on, whatever. The outcome of the presidential race.
This could ensure the execution of a Trump order issued in July to illegally exclude residents of the country from the numbers used to determine the distribution of seats in Congress. Trump’s order was declared illegal by three courts – in New York City, California and Maryland. The Department of Justice appeals.
Whether the Census Bureau can meet the Dec.31 deadline to forward the distribution figures to Trump is now at risk after the agency said Thursday that it discovered anomalies in the data during the processing of the numbers.
The coalition disputing the anticipated end of the enumeration is seeking to extend the crunch phase of census numbers from late December to late April, primarily since the Census Bureau relies on a large number of administrative files to fill the gaps in data collection.
Coalition lawyers said they had documented other census cases that were asked to cut corners and fudge numbers to close cases.
“Shortening data-processing operations will prevent the Bureau from finding and fixing these errors, as the Bureau itself has acknowledged,” their lawsuit said.