Insight With Beth Ruyak

Hosted By Beth Ruyak

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Monday, July 8, 2019 Permalink

2020 Census Takes Center Stage

Michelle R. Smith / AP Photo

This March 23, 2018 photo shows an envelope containing a 2018 census test letter mailed to a resident in Providence, R.I.

Michelle R. Smith / AP Photo

Issues surrounding the 2020 U.S. Census are not as resolved as they might have seemed to be, but states are pushing forward, as is the printing of census forms. Big questions are how California will get the most complete count and why there’s so much at stake.

In this episode of Insight, California Secretary of State Alex Padilla and Attorney General Xavier Becerra illuminate both issues. NPR National Correspondent Hansi Lo Wang describes how the Census count works, including in places like Butte County, where the disastrous Camp Fire displaced thousands of people in Paradise. Then, State Auditor Elaine Howle explains how census results come into play in determining California’s voting districts. This will be a job for the Citizens Redistricting Commission. The application process is open to join the commission until Aug. 9. 

Secretary Of State's Push To Educate Californians About The 2020 Census

Listen to the full interview here:

2020 Census forms are still being debated. In late June, the Supreme Court ruled that a citizenship question couldn’t be added based on the way the Trump administration had argued it. Yet the High Court left the door open for the administration to provide a new rationale. Meanwhile, in many states, including California, there is an effort underway to educate people about the census and to encourage participation. California Secretary of State Alex Padilla talked about this after the Supreme Court’s decision was announced.

Attorney General Outlines The Stakes For The Upcoming Decennial Count

Listen to the full interview here:

California could lose state and federal legislative seats and billions of dollars if the state experiences an “undercount" in next year's census.  So, while the controversy over the citizenship question remains unresolved, California and other states are focusing on getting the most complete count as possible. Attorney General Xavier Becerra describes what’s at stake. 

The Mechanics Of Census Counting In Areas Struck By Disaster

If the census, in fact, stays on schedule, the first forms will go to rural Alaska in January 2020. People across most of the rest of the United States will be asked to fill out forms online by mid-March or they’ll get them in the mail. Recently, NPR National Correspondent, Hansi Lo Wang talked about how census coordinators handle areas like the town of Paradise, decimated by wildfires, and other places where so many people have been displaced. 

Citizens Redistricting Commission Will Re-Draw California’s Voting Districts

When the census is finally complete, Californians will be able to re-draw its voting districts. This was codified in the “Voters First Act of 2008.” The job of changing those district lines — for Congress, Assembly, State Senate and Board of Equalization seats — goes to the Citizens Redistricting Commission. The process to form the commission has begun, with an online application, which is the first step. State Auditor Elaine Howle recently gave a great civics lesson on what the commission is and what it does.

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