Sending Office: Honorable TJ Cox
Sent By:
nandini.narayan@mail.house.gov

        Request for Signature(s)

Deadline to Co-Sign: COB January 27th 

Co-Lead: Rep. TJ Cox & Rep. Chip Roy

Supported by: Asian American Justice Center, National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund, OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates

Co-Signers: Barragan, Blumenauer, Carbajal, Cardenas, Case, Cisneros, Connolly, Costa, Cuellar, DeFazio, Espaillat, Foster, Fudge, Garcia S., Golden, Gomez, Gonzalez,
Griffith, Grijalva, Haaland, Horsford, Jackson Lee, Jayapal, Kaptur, Khanna, Kirkpatrick, Krishnamoorthi, Lee B., Lofgren, Lowenthal, McCollum, McGovern, McNerney, Neguse, Ocasio-Cortez, Panetta, Pappas, Payne, Phillips, Pressley, Radewagen,
Raskin, Ruppersberg, Sewell, Smith, Stefanik, Vela, Wild

Dear Colleague: 

Please join me in asking Dr. Steven Dillingham, the director of the Census Bureau, for updates on any steps that the Census Bureau has taken to ensure that computers in public spaces are able to access the 2020 Census form. Due to the nature of the 2020
Census form’s formatting, it may not be accessible by computers with hardware over a decade old. This is an issue especially affecting rural communities who rely heavily on resources in community spaces. The 2020 Census will be used to allocate over a trillion
dollars in federal funding that will impact the life of every American. As Members of Congress, we must ensure that all our constituents are counted in the 2020 Census.

To sign on, please contact Nandini Narayan with Rep. Cox at 5-4695 or
nandini.narayan@mail.house.gov

________________________________________________________________________________________

Dr. Steven Dillingham

U.S. Census Bureau

4600 Silver Hill Road

Washington, DC 20233

To Dr. Steven Dillingham,

We are writing to inquire about the steps that the Census Bureau is taking to ensure that there is adequate access to computers in public spaces in advance of the 2020 Census. The 2020 Census is the first Census that will be conducted primarily online. As
we prepare to guarantee every American – especially those living in rural communities – is counted, we need to address the lack of up-to-date technology in our public community spaces. Various community leaders have expressed their concern regarding the nature
of the 2020 Census form’s formatting.  It may not be accessible by computers with hardware over a decade old – an issue especially affecting rural communities who rely heavily on resources in available community spaces.

It is imperative for public community spaces to have computers that are up-to-date, particularly in rural communities where access to broadband is limited and that have been historically “hard to count.” Low-income communities and communities of color in
rural areas are the most likely to be accessing the Census form on a public computer during the first wave of outreach. These constituents rely heavily on community spaces to have the technology necessary to access the Census registration forms.

Mobile Questionnaire Assistance Centers (MQACs) are meant to bridge the gap in “hard to count” areas. As of now, 1 out of every 9 Americans do not have access to the internet. Without the adequate number of MQAC’s, these areas could be under counted in the
Census. Currently the amount of MQACs stands at roughly 4,500 units. This number is insufficient to count hard to reach communities and puts the Census at a greater risk of being incomplete. We therefore request responses to the following questions: 

  1. The Census online response form will be available online from March 12th onward. What steps will regional directors be taking to ensure that all public computers are able to access the 2020 Census form by mid-March? How late into the non-response
    follow-up period (NRFU) will the Bureau be accepting online responses, for example, from households that got a Notice of a Visit by an enumerator?
  2. Has the Census Bureau assessed the ability of the current stock of public computers to access the 2020 Census?
  3. When regional directors and their staff conduct visits to communities, how will they report their plan to reach every community? Will the reports be made public?
  4. How will the Census Bureau ensure constituents learn about the availability of MQACs and where they are located? Is there a plan to increase the number of MQACs?
  5. Can the Bureau verify there will not be an issue with multiple responses being submitted from the same device or IP address?

This year the Census Bureau was given $6.7 billion for the purpose of conducting the 2020 Census. That funding provides an opportunity for the Census Bureau to remove barriers to completing the 2020 Census for “hard to count” communities. More than ever
before, the Census Bureau is relying on technology to encourage Americans to self-report and assist them in doing so. A lack of access to public computers is a new barrier to an accurate count that will need to be addressed as part of the Census Bureau’s preparations
for the 2020 Census.

We appreciate your consideration of this request. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us or have your staff contact Nandini Narayan,
nandini.narayan@mail.house.gov. We look forward to your answers and continued cooperative efforts and request a response by February 28th, 2020.

 

Sincerely,

TJ Cox

Member of Congress

Chip Roy

Member of Congress

 

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