OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
A major mistake by the Census Bureau could have implications in the 2024 presidential election.
Last week the Census Bureau admitted that it had made miscounts in 14 states in the 2020 Census and, coincidentally, it appears they overcounted blue states more than others.
The overcounted states included Hawaii, Delaware, Rhode Island, Minnesota, New York and Massachusetts. Five of the six states voted for President Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election.
The undercounted states included Texas, Illinois, Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee and Arkansas. Five of those six states voted for former President Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election.
Kristin Tate explained how this could impact politics in the nation.
“The 2020 census led to significant changes to congressional seats apportioned to states. Texas gained two congressional seats, while North Carolina, Florida, Montana, Colorado and Oregon each gained one. New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois and California each lost one seat in Congress. There was significant surprise that population growth winners such as Texas and Florida didn’t gain more seats. With the possible exception of Illinois not losing a seat, the likely effects of an accurate count would have overwhelmingly aided red states. Simply put, the revised figures show that (mostly) red states had even quicker relative population growth compared to the rest of the country — and especially compared to (mostly) blue states. It is entirely possible that undercounted states could have gained at least one seat in Congress, while overcounted states may have lost at least one each,” she said.
“Furthermore, seat apportionments are based on relative growth — whether a state is growing compared to the other 49. The original 2020 figures showed New York’s population increasing by about 800,000 residents, to 20.2 million. Instead, the population remained effectively flat compared to 2010, at 19.5 million. Florida’s population jumped even more than counted originally, ballooning from 18.9 million in 2010 to 21.1 million — about a half-million more than originally estimated<” she said.
And no it cannot be corrected in time for the 2022 midterms or the 2024 presidential election, as she said in her piece.
“The Supreme Court considered whether revised, more accurate numbers could be used for reapportionment in 1999 and determined that such differences could not be considered in congressional seat counts. The inaccurate 2020 figures will stand. Since almost every error benefited Democrats, the risk of undermining trust in the Census Bureau and the election is significant. The only potential life-preserver for the GOP is that the current Supreme Court could consider a challenge based on the accurate figure. As of now, no challenge exists — and the time to file one is rapidly running out,” she said.
We do not know how it would have worked if the states were counted accurately, but we do know that Florida and Texas were each close to gaining a seat on Congress and the states that tend to vote for Democrats were close to each losing a seat, nine of them.
Had that happened the Democrats would have lost nine Congressional seats and Electoral College votes.
That, along with the gain by Republicans, would have accounted for a seven percent change in the 270 votes needed to win the presidency in 2024 and 2028.
Imagine if the Republican candidate for president in 2024 were to be defeated by the Democrat by a razor thin margin, and the margin would not have existed if the Census did a correct count. At a time when people have less faith in voting in the United States that could cause a true crisis that could shake the foundation of voting.
There is still time to fix it, but it has to be done quickly.