U.S. Sen. David Vitter today sent a letter asking the U.S. Census Bureau to investigate survey errors in Franklinton, Louisiana. Vitter expressed concerns that errors may result in inaccurate population measures that have affected Louisiana congressional representation. Vitter's office has repeatedly asked for an explanation from the Census Bureau on this matter and has yet to get a response.
"This could be a major screw-up that is all the more glaring given the fact that Louisiana is losing a Congressional seat as a result of the most recent census," Vitter said. "If the Census Bureau failed to count some Louisiana citizens, we need to know immediately."
The text of Vitter's letter to the U.S. Census Bureau is below.
IMMEDIATE ATTENTION REQUIRED
Monday, May 14, 2012
Director Robert Groves
United States Census Bureau
4600 Silver Hill Road
Washington, DC 20233
Dear Director Groves:
Late last year, I was contacted by several constituents in Washington Parish, Louisiana, who are very concerned because they were never contacted in any way by anyone as part of the 2010 census process. These constituents know of several other citizens in Washington Parish who were never contacted also.
In November 2011, my office outlined this serious concern to the Census Bureau. In February 2012, my staff was informed by one of your representatives over the telephone that the problem seemed to be that some residents and perhaps larger sections of Washington Parish were not included in the database to be contacted for the Census. A formal, written, and more detailed response was promised. We continued to request this response over the next three months.
Although I have finally received a response, it did not provide any real substance or detail. In particular, it did not address what could be a major screw-up that is all the more glaring given the fact that Louisiana is losing a Congressional seat as a result of the most recent census.
There are a number of crucial questions that I obviously need to have answered:
1. How many people were affected by this oversight?
2. Were there any other Louisiana parishes, cities, towns, or neighborhoods that were overlooked in the 2010 census? If so, how many people does this represent?
3. Was the Census Bureau aware of this oversight before being contacted by my office? If so, what corrective action was taken before my contact?
4. What processes were put in place to keep this from happening as the census-taking strategies were mapped out prior to conducting the count?
5. Have there been any oversight problems in other states?
6. What, if any, procedures are in place to rectify this oversight and make sure Louisiana's census population figures are accurate?
7. Accurate apportionment and proper congressional representation are an extremely important aspect of our democratic form of government. If Louisiana citizens were deprived of this right, what can be done to rectify the problem?
I ask that you send me the answers to the above questions as soon as possible along with any other information that would help me make sure Louisiana is adequately represented.
United States Senate