Sarbanes Raises the Alarm Over Efforts to Discourage People from Participating in the 2020 Census

During a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing today, Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.) raised concerns over insidious disinformation efforts to discourage people from participating in the 2020 Census and to undermine the U.S. Census Bureau’s work to ensure an accurate count.

“This is a really, really critical discussion we’re having today,” said Congressman Sarbanes. “In many respects, talking about the importance of being counted is talking about empowerment and justice and dignity and respect. Ms. Gupta, you are here a lot testifying and you’re here because the Leadership Conference provides fundamental advocacy on these important issues of empowerment. I want to thank you for that. We’ve had the opportunity of working closely together on efforts to protect and reform our democracy. I thank you for it, especially as it relates to voter suppression.”

Congressman Sarbanes continued: “It occurs to me that voter suppression and attempts to reduce census participation are really two sides of the same coin. They’re about pushing people, often times minority communities, out of our democracy when we need to be pulling them into our democracy. If you think about it, the two most fundamental ways or opportunities that people in this country have at empowerment are to be counted at the polls and to be counted in the census. That’s the way somebody is able to stand up and say here I am, I count, I matter. My voice is important.”

Congressman Sarbanes concluded: “So, I’m very concerned about something that I believe you referenced in your testimony, at least your written testimony, which is the potential for census related disinformation efforts. We talked about the importance of getting good education and information out there, and we need to lean on that as strongly as we possibly can. We also have to combat disinformation when it comes to the census process.”