Fair Count

Stacey Abrams launches initiative to ensure 2020 census leaves no one behind

Stacey Abrams at the Hyatt Regency in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. November 7, 2018. (REUTERS/Lawrence Bryant)

Stacey Abrams is fighting to fix the census. The Trump administration’s efforts to manipulate the national headcount by adding a citizenship question have been struck down by three separate federal judges. That legal challenge will likely reach the Supreme Court later this month.

The stakes could hardly be higher. The results of the census are used to assign proportionate representation in Congress and up to $900 billion in federal funds. Abrams, who has long fought against conservative efforts to purge voter rolls of minority groups through her non-profit Fair Fight, launched a new non-profit, Fair Count, in March. The goal is to ensure that all Georgia residents are able to participate in the upcoming census.

Fair Count program director Jeanine Abrams McLean, an evolutionary biologist and population researcher who also happens to be Abrams’ sister, says the challenge will be a steep one.

Nearly 25 percent of the state’s population is categorized as hard to count, and one in five Georgia residents don’t have reliable access to the internet. More than half of all counties in the state will reportedly need additional support in order to accurately count their constituents.

“One of the things that Fair Count is planning to invest in is bringing the internet to those who can’t access it,” Abrams McLean told CityLab. “We’re talking about providing hot spots or internet census cafes — basically bringing the internet to people.”

Providing vital infrastructure that would give people access to a phone signal or an internet connection, noted Fair Count CEO Rebecca DeHart, would create lasting value for residents well beyond the 2020 census.

“Our goal isn’t to open up shop, make sure everyone is counted, and then shut the door,” DeHart explained. “If we’re going to be assisting in bringing the internet to a community, we want to make sure that community fulfills whatever other needs they have, too.”

Stacey Abrams will appear at the 10th annual Women in the World Summit this week. See the full agenda here, and get your tickets here.

Read the full story at CityLab.

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