Alabama files suit against Census Bureau

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall says the state and Terminix International have signed a...
Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall says the state and Terminix International have signed a $60 million settlement after alleged illegal business practices and violations of the Alabama Deceptive Trade Practices Act.(Source: WSFA 12 News)
Published: Mar. 10, 2021 at 3:29 PM CST
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall, along with Rep. Robert Aderholt, R-District 4, and two other Alabama voters have filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Census Bureau, specifically the bureau’s use of differential privacy.

According to Marshall’s office, the lawsuit was filed over the Department of Commerce’s decision to “manipulate census data that will affect congressional and state legislative redistricting, and delay delivery of census data the States need to complete redistricting.” The Census Bureau is a part of the Department of Commerce.

In the lawsuit, Marshall and Aderholt challenge the commerce department and the Census Bureau for manipulating and delaying mandated census numbers due to the implementation of a controversial new statistical method known as “differential privacy.”

Marshall said the method is designed to “inject error into the decennial census data, essentially scrambling the numbers.” As a result, states will not know if the population numbers the Census Bureau provides for any given neighborhood, town or county are accurate.

“Every ten years the U.S. Census Bureau is required by law to report the results of the census count to Congress and the States so that $1.5 trillion in federal funding can be fairly allocated and legislative districts can be fairly redrawn,” said Marshall. “The Census Bureau is already late in reporting mandated apportionment data from the 2020 census and has declared it will also violate the statutory deadline for delivering redistricting data to the States.”

“I am pleased to join with Attorney General Steve Marshall in fighting this unconstitutional practice by the United States Census Bureau. The Census is only carried out once every ten years and is vital for redistricting, federal allocation of tax dollars and for many other public and private uses. Therefore, it is critical that the numbers be as accurate as possible and not be simply generated by computer algorithms and guess work. The bureau’s practice of “differential privacy” is just that, guess work,” Aderholt said in a statement.

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama Wednesday.

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