Orange County residents receive GOP "census" mailer weeks before actual census mailed
DTH Photo Illustration. Undercounting in the 2020 census may seriously impact Orange County results. The numbers will help state, local and national officials plan for future development. Children under 6, ethnic minorities, renters and migrants often do not participate in the census often due to reasons such as the fear of what the government will do with the information and lack of funding.
Todd McGee, community relations director for Orange County, said the mailer may detract unobservant residents from filling out the real census.
“It could confuse people,” McGee said. “Once you open it up, it’s fairly obvious it’s not the census, but we don’t want people to open it up and put aside to do later and ignore the census.”
ALERT: This mailer is being sent by the @GOP to targeted households in @OCNCGOV and resembles the Census form. The form inside asks dozens of questions unrelated to the official #2020Census and for a contribution to President Trump's re-election. This is NOT the Census. pic.twitter.com/McEukVdy40
The GOP mailer, which asks respondents about their stance on issues ranging from race relations to socialism, states that it is sent to the Republican Party’s key members and supporters.
The mailer included a letter signed by Ronna McDaniel, chairperson of the Republican National Committee which said, " ... President Trump has requested that a Census of every Congressional District be conducted immediately."
When contacted about the mailer by The Daily Tar Heel, a spokesperson for the Republican National Committee said in an email that it was clear who the sender was.
"Mailers are clearly marked that they are from the Republican National Committee," the spokesperson said.
Anna Richards, president of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP, said the timing of the mailer’s delivery, which falls just weeks before the first round of census mail-outs, is an intentional attempt to confuse residents. She said the mailer reminded her of the GOP’s involvement in partisan gerrymandering.
“We want everybody to vote, and they’re trying to restrict the vote," Richards said. "We want everybody counted so that resources are adequately allocated. They want as few of those folks counted as possible.”
“This happens just once every ten years, and it affects how our communities are safe for the future, how our schools look, hospitals, health care, how we’re represented,” Johnson said. “We just want people to be aware of how important it is to be counted.”
“When the governmental body chooses to redraw our congressional districts, they apportion each district based on population count,” Stanford said. “So having an accurate count may mean gaining one or more seats in the house of representatives.”
Stanford also said in an email that the census will never ask for bank information, social security numbers or political party affiliation and will always have a return address from either the U.S. Census Bureau or the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Census letters will always be addressed to a residential address, Mcgee said, not to residents.
Although McGee said Orange County's Complete Count Committee does not care if residents respond to the mailer or not, he said it is not affiliated with the U.S. Census Board.
“If people want to open it up and give money to the President’s reelection campaign, we don’t have a problem with that,” McGee said, “We just want them to understand that this is not the census.”
Households should expect a letter from the U.S. Census Bureau containing instructions on how to fill out the census online beginning on March 12.
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