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California Would Lose Four Electoral Votes If Only Citizens Are Counted In The Census


by Evie Fordham

The state of California would lose four seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, and therefore four votes in the electoral college, if only citizens were counted in the decennial national census.

The report comes days after a lawsuit that argues against including a citizenship question in the national census received the green light to go to trial Thursday, according to The New York Times’ blog The Upshot.

Proponents of distinguishing between citizens and noncitizens when apportioning representation would increase the power of states like Louisiana and Montana at the expense of states like California and New York, according to The Upshot.

If noncitizens were cut from state population totals and Congress was reapportioned via a constitutional amendment, 11 states would find themselves with a new number of U.S. representatives. California would lose four, and Texas, New York and Florida would each lose one. Montana, Missouri, Minnesota, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Louisiana and Colorado would each gain one, according to The Upshot.

Counting only citizens would also bring about changes at the local level. For example, 29 percent of Florida’s population resides in the Miami metropolitan region. But if only the region’s voting-age citizens were counted, the Miami region would only account for 26 percent of the state’s population, according to The Upshot. That would give more power to rural parts of the state.

Alabama filed suit in federal court against the Commerce Department, “challenging the [Census] Bureau’s policy of including all U.S. residents in the Census count used for apportionment,” according to the Brennan Center for Justice. Alabama argues that it has been deprived of its proper amount of representation.

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