State lawmakers concerned over long term impact of census count

California

SACRAMENTO (KRON) — Focusing on those who will be hardest to count, California lawmakers held a hearing Wednesday on the 2020 census.

“The consequences of that census we will have to live with for the next decade,” said Sen. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento.)

Secretary of State Alex Padilla told lawmakers he has a number of concerns that could lead to an undercount, including understaffing at the U.S. Census Bureau, low confidence in the federal government and cyber security concerns with the first ever digital census.

“The level of federal funding that’s at stake if there’s an under count,” Padilla said. 

California is spending $187 million on outreach efforts, a chunk of that going toward a media campaign set to launch at the end of September. 

Experts explained the message that should be included in that campaign. 

“Not just Educating people on what is the census but bridging those fears of participation and trust in government that are essential to success,” said Efrain Escobedo with the California Community Foundation. 

Padilla is juggling both the census and upcoming primary election in March. 

He says he expects a record number of voter registrations and election turn out.

“We need to channel that energy, that awareness, that engagement and make sure we apply it to the census,” Padilla said. 

Officials say the first invitations to complete the census online will go out March 12. 

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