Here we will explore the issues that should matter to Iranian-Americans
and all Farsi Voters.
The U.S. Census Bureau was established as a permanent agency within the Department of the Interior in 1902. Prior to that, the work was performed by a temporary office overseen by other agencies, including the Department of State and Department of Interior. The first censuses were conducted by U.S. Marshals and their assistants, and replaced by specially-appointed and trained census takers in 1880.
The first several decennial censuses were very basic. Census-takers only asked a handful of demographic questions, processing and tabulating questionnaires occurred at a local level, and publications were relatively limited. But as the country grew, and policy and business leaders began to recognize the value of census data, questionnaires became longer and tabulation necessarily became more involved.
As the science of statistics advanced, the Census Bureau changed and updated its methodology. The most noteworthy change occurred in 1940, when the Census Bureau introduced statistical sampling in a population census. There have, however, been other important methodological advances, especially in the fields of industrial classification and census-taking.
The 2010 census saw the most dramatic shift in the U.S. Census Bureau's data collection process in decades. The successful launch of the American Community Survey, which is administered continuously throughout the decade, meant that the long-form sample questionnaire was no longer used in the census itself.As the United States continues to change, the Census Bureau continues to change along with it.
Apportionment is one of the most important functions of the decennial census. Apportionment measures the population so that seats in the U.S. House of Representatives can be correctly apportioned among the states. Until the middle of the twentieth century, Congress enacted new apportionment legislation following almost every census.
The Constitution does not specify a certain method of apportionment. Almost as soon as the first census was completed in 1790, political thinkers, including Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson, began suggesting their own methods. The plans generally differed according to whether they favored the large or small states in post-census allocation of representatives. This disagreement over method of apportionment resurfaced every ten years until a permanent method was set following the 1940 census.
In this section, you'll find a collection of legislation dealing with apportionment, as well as an explanation of the methods of apportionment that have been used to allocate seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Since the first census in 1790, the U.S. Census Bureau has collected data using a census "schedule," also called a "questionnaire." Between 1790 and 1820, U.S. Marshals conducting the census were responsible for supplying paper and writing-in headings related to the questions asked (i.e., name, age, sex, race, etc.). In 1830, Congress authorized the printing of uniform schedules for use throughout the United States.
The 1940 Census included separate questionnaires to count the population and collect housing data. The 1960 and later censuses combined population and housing questions onto a single questionnaire mailed to households or completed during a census taker's visit.
Between 1970 and 2000, the U.S. Census Bureau used two questionnaires. Most households received a short-form questionnaire asking a minimum number of questions. A sample of households received a long-form questionnaire that included additional questions about the household. The 2010 Census had just one questionnaire consisting of ten questions.
The first censuses counted the population and provided information on population by county. In 1790, the census also categorized white males by age: those under age 16 and those age 16 and older. Over the years, Congress has authorized additional questions, enabling us to better understand the nation's inhabitants and their activities and needs. In fact, one of the nation's founders, James Madison, suggested that the census takers ask additional questions that would help lawmakers better understand the needs of the nation.
For example, the 1810 Census also collected economic data (on the quantity and value of manufactured goods). In 1850, the census began collecting "social statistics" (information about taxes, education, crime, and value of estate, etc.) and mortality data. In 1940, additional questions were asked of a sample of the population, including questions on internal migration, veteran status, and the number of children ever born to women. These questions helped society understand the impact of the Great Depression.
Through the decades, the census has collected data on race, ancestry, education, health, housing, and transportation. An examination of the questions asked during each census illustrates changes in our nation's understanding of race, the impact of immigration, growth of the Hispanic population, and computer usage. As a result of the census's evolution, the constitutionally mandated census has grown to provide important information about the U.S. population and its housing. Coupled with data from the economic and government censuses and demographic and economic surveys, the U.S. Census Bureau provides governments, scholars, planners, businesses, and individuals the data they need to build schools, plan highways, open businesses, and distribute the billions of dollars in federal spending that sustains a growing population.
Source: US Census Bureau. www.census.gov
What is changing in the 2020 Census?
On Jan. 15, a federal court blocked the Trump administration from adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census, stating that it constitutes an “egregious” violation of federal law. Judge Furman concluded that if the Trump administration got its way and a citizenship question was put on the census, “hundreds of thousands—if not millions—of people will go uncounted.” The Trump administration has appealed the ruling and the Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case. The ACLU will appear before the Supreme Court on April 23, 2019.
For the first time since 1950, the census will ask respondents whether or not they are U.S. citizens. It may seem innocuous, but the addition of the question — in essence, a door-to-door government inquiry as to the citizenship status of every member of every household in the United States — will have far reaching consequences. It will dramatically reduce participation by immigrant communities, stunting their growing political influence and depriving them of economic benefits.
This is not an unintended side effect. It’s the reason the Trump administration sought to add the question, rejecting the advice of Census Bureau’s professional staff, its scientific advisory committee, and five previous census directors from both Republican and Democratic administrations.
Manipulating the census to discriminate against and disadvantage certain groups violates both the Fifth Amendment right to equal protection and the constitutional obligation that the census counts every living person in the United States, not just every citizen.
FarsiVoter also strongly rejects the addition of this question for the 2020 Census, and agrees with the League of Women Voters who submitted the following comments on this matter.
"Simply put, a fair and accurate census is essential for all basic functions of our society. That is why including a citizenship question on the 2020 Census, when the weight of scientific evidence indicates the question will undermine a successful count of our nation’s people, is a grave mistake.
We believe in a full, fair and accurate census. The collection of useful, objective data about our nation’s demographics, housing, economy and communities is vitally important. Not only is a nationwide census required by the Constitution, it is integral to our democracy, ensuring that district lines are fairly drawn, and appropriate resources are allocated. The federal government uses census-derived data to direct at least $800 billion annually in federal assistance to states, localities and families. The data also guides important community decisions affecting schools, housing, health care services, business investment and much more. A Census undercount or miscount will compromise the lives of millions of people and will cost more money to rectify in the long run.
The League believes including a citizenship question in the 2020 Census will cause participation to plummet and threaten the accuracy of the Census. Census data is not only used to draw state and congressional districts based on population, but it is also used by local governments to plan for public safety and make investments in the future of their communities".
Source: League of Women Voters
Information about the upcoming 2020 California Census
- By completing the 2020 Census, we will insure that we will be counted and make sure that our community will get the resources and funding we need such as better roads and schools for our children or improved community programs for our elderly parents.
Key dates to remember
March 12-20 Invitations to complete the 2020 Census questionnaire online will be mailed out
March 26-April 3. Reminder letter will be mailed
Census day. April 1, 2020
April 8-16. Second reminder and questionnaire will be mailed out
April 20-27. Final reminder letter will be mailed out before the Census Bureau follows up in person
May-July. Follow-up with households that did not self- respond
To learn more about California Census go to: www.californiacensus.org
Source: 2020 California Voter Information Guide
News about election materials
Farsi is now a mandated language for elections in California. Please see the following Press Release from the California Secretary of State Alex Padilla.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 2, 2018
SOS Press Office
Six New Languages Added to 2018 Election Language Assistance Requirements:
SACRAMENTO – Secretary of State Alex Padilla announced today the language assistance requirements for 2018 as mandated by law. Elections Code Section 14201(b)(1) outlines state language access requirements for each county and provides determinations as to which precincts must provide facsimile ballots, or a posted photocopies of ballots, in non-English languages. This is the first time the State of California is designating Panjabi (Punjabi), Hmong, Syriac, Armenian, Persian, and Arabic as languages covered under Section 14201 in designated counties.
"Elections are the cornerstone of our democracy and voting rights include access to voting information in a voter’s preferred language," said Secretary of State Alex Padilla. "These new language requirements will better serve voters who prefer their ballot in a language other than English and will help local elections officials better serve their diverse communities. For the first time, we will expand ballot translation into six new languages to better meet the needs of our state's increasingly diverse population."
Under Section 14201(b)(1), the Secretary of State must identify (1) the number of residents of voting age in each county and precinct who are (2) members of a single language minority, that (3) lack sufficient skills in English to vote without assistance. If that number equals 3 percent or more of the voting age residents of a particular county or precinct, “the Secretary of State shall find a need to provide at least two facsimile copies with the ballot measures and ballot instructions printed in Spanish or other applicable language in the affected polling places.” (Cal. Elec. Code § 14201(b)(1)).
Additionally, Section 14201(a) provides the Secretary of State with the authority to determine if facsimile ballots shall be printed in other languages and posted "if a significant and substantial need" is found. The determinations provided to counties identify which languages require the posting of facsimile ballots, based on the Secretary’s Section 14201(a) authority. As part of our review, the Secretary of State’s office considered whether a sufficient number of precincts within a county included limited English proficient populations compared to the total number of precincts in the county.
“We are able to make these language determinations thanks to the most recent demographic information made available by the U. S. Census,” added Secretary Padilla. “Census data remains a vital tool in election officials’ duty to serve voters who speak a language other than English.”
WHAT IS REDISTRICTING AND HOW IT EFFECTS
IRANIAN-AMERICANS IN CALIFORNIA
Every ten years, after the federal census, California must re-establish the boundaries of its Congressional, State Senate, State Assembly, and State Board of Equalization districts to reflect new population data and shifting populations.
In November 2008, voters approved Proposition 11—the Voters FIRST Act which authorizes the creation of the new 14-member Citizens Redistricting Commission (commission). This commission will be responsible for drawing the district lines for the State Senate, Assembly, and State Board of Equalization. The Commission was created to ensure that new and fair political boundaries are drawn without special interests, politics and political interest.
The criteria's to be used by the commission are based on the Equal Population which requires each congressional and state legislative districts to have the same total population. Also the Voting Rights Act which addresses the history of discrimination by communities of color, provides protections to these communities to be able to elect the candidates of their choice.
Who was selected as part of the 2020 Commission do?
The 14-member 2020 Commission is made up of five Republicans, five Democrats, and 4 not affiliated with either of those two parties but registered with another party or as decline-to-state. The Commission must draw the district lines in conformity with strict, nonpartisan rules designed to create districts of relatively equal population that will provide fair representation for all Californians. The Commission must hold public hearings and accept public comment. After hearing from the public and drawing the maps for the House of Representatives districts, 40 Senate districts, 80 Assembly districts, and four Board of Equalization districts, the Commission must vote on the new maps to be used for the next decade. To approve the new maps, the maps must receive nine “yes” votes from the Commission—three “yes” votes from members registered with the two largest parties, and three “yes” votes from the other members.
Source: CA redistricting Commission
So why should Iranian-Americans care about this issue?
Because which cities and counties will be part of the new 2021district maps that will be drawn by the Commission will impact the representation by Iranian-American people who would want to run in those districts. Let us not forget that the maps that will be drawn this year will be used for the next 10 years in all local, state and federal election and will define the official representatives that we would like to represent us in those drawn districts.
US Census is to release their population results to states for map drawing in the month of July 2021. We as Iranian-Americans need to become more educated about redistricting, and to attend Public Hearings which can be held either before or after the maps are drafted, and it will provide us with the opportunity to voice our community concerns and interests and take vital part in our future.