Information Technology (IT) problems at the U.S. Census Bureau could cause inaccuracies in this year's constitutionally mandated decennial tabulation of the U.S. population, according to government auditors.No doubt some census workers will not be greeted warmly, which surely will result in a spate of stories from mindless lefty bloggers about how angry people are. Play along. They can't help themselves. Frank Rich will then tell us it's just white people lashing out because Barney Frank is gay and Obama is half black.
“IT problems place the efficiency and accuracy of Non-Response Follow-Up at risk and final decennial costs remain uncertain,” testified Judith Gordon, the principal assistant inspector general for Audit and Evaluation at the Department of Commerce, which runs the Census Bureau.
The NRFU is the census’ largest operation and involves personally interviewing millions of people nationwide who did not respond to the mailed Census questionnaire.
Robert Goldenkoff, the director of strategic issues for the Government Accountability Office (GAO), told CNSNews.com that “an estimated 50 million housing units out of a mail-out universe of about 120 million” will be non-respondents that will require an in-person follow-up to count.
Meanwhile, responders are finding the race question baffling, to say the least.
Question 9 on the 2010 Census form seems pretty straightforward: "What is Person 1's race?"Good thing we're living in the glorious post-racial era, isn't it?
But it's anything but for many Hispanics like Miriam M.E. Garcia.
She's filled out her Census form, but hasn't "sent it in because I'm still debating" the race question, Garcia said recently. "I am Mexican but I'm also part Filipino and part Japanese," said Garcia, 61, executive director of Adelante of Suffolk County Inc., a local social service agency.
Even though the form allows people to check more than one race -- and she has -- she thinks the categories don't quite fit.
She isn't alone.
"My own personal opinion is it just doesn't make any sense, the way race is separated from Hispanic," said Nadia Marin-Molina.
Federal law describes Hispanics as an ethnic group, not a race. So Marin-Molina, executive director of the Hempstead-based Workplace Project, an immigrant advocacy group, said she simply checked the "some other race" box and wrote in "Latino." She is of Colombian heritage.
Roberto Ramirez, the Census Bureau's ethnicity and ancestry branch chief, said the agency is aware of the confusion many Hispanics -- as well as those with multiracial heritage -- have over the race question.
Ramirez said about 40 percent of Hispanics are foreign born, and may "come from countries that have different concepts of race and ethnicity, so they struggle with the U.S. race classification system."
Not to be overlooked are Criminal-Americans, who are upset they're being counted where they're incarcerated rather than in the locale in which they normally practice their profession. This, naturally, greatly affect gerrymandering efforts of Democrats.
The last time the census was done - in 2000 - Brooklynite Ramon Velasquez was locked up in Attica state prison for robbery.
According to the Census Bureau, Velasquez lived not in hardscrabble Bushwick, but in rural Attica Village, 264 miles away.
"Knowing that they counted me in Attica was a shock to me," said Velasquez, 50, a volunteer with the New York City AIDS Housing Network.
"It's not fair because we don't use their services. We're being counted just for a political purpose. You don't have many people up there in those counties."
Velasquez is the face of a long-running battle between the Census Bureau, which counts prisoners in the areas they are incarcerated, and big-city politicians who want them counted where they really live. It's not about money: Subtracting the 29,000 New York City inmates wouldn't cut deeply into the city's federal funding.
It's about political clout: Census figures are used to draw the state's legislative districts. Urban areas get hurt when inmates are counted as living upstate.
"It's just fundamentally unfair," state Sen. Eric Schneiderman (D-Manhattan, Bronx) said of the practice, called prison-based gerrymandering, which, he says, gives rural, upstate areas with prisons outsize political influence.
"The poor communities the prisoners come from ... are punished every 10 years," said Schneiderman, who has introduced a bill with Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries (D-Brooklyn) to change things on a state level.