The census and the recount
Chambers Jr, Henry L.
ChambersH at MISSOURI.EDU
Mon Nov 13 15:21:46 PST 2000
Sorry about being too obtuse.
The link is with respect to systematic undercounting. One of the arguments
that has swirled around the Census is that the way the Census is done, with
surveys and house-by-house counting, leads to systematic undercounts that
may then affect all ways in which the Census is used to apportion federal
power and resources. Some have argued that there may be a constitutional
dimension to the method of counting or the undercount itself if the method
or undercount has racial or other impacts. Thus, one argument goes, it is
legitimate to use statistical models or other methods to determine the
Census in those areas where undercounting is so problematic. The counter
argument is that the constitutional language of "actual Enumeration"
requires a hard (I do mean hard rather than hand) count through methods
already in place or similar methods.
I think the relevance to the recount in Florida is that much of the argument
about the Florida recount fundamentally involves similar accuracy,
undercounting and (possible) equal protection arguments.
My question is whether anyone has any views about how the argument made in
the Census area -- that hard undercounts are constitutionally preferred to
squishy but arguably more accurate "overcounts" -- relates to the arguments
being made with respect to machine undercounts versus squishy but arguably
more accurate hand counts in Florida?
From: William D Rich [mailto:rich at UAKRON.EDU]
Sent: Monday, November 13, 2000 1:59 PM
To: CONLAWPROF at listserv.ucla.edu
Subject: Re: The census and the recount
At 12:55 PM 11/13/2000 -0600, Chambers Jr, Henry L. wrote:
>If the Constitution could be read to require or presume an "actual
>Enumeration" of votes for President (through any clause you could think
>could notions of due process/equal protection and the like be brought to
>bear to require that Florida count its votes in some particular manner or
>spend as much time and money as necessary to get as full (and/or fair) a
>count as possible?
I don't see the connection between the census and the method by which votes
are counted in Florida. The only relevance of the census to the outcome of
presidential elections, as far as I can see, is that it determines the
number of U.S. Representatives allocated to each state, which in turn
determines the number of electors each state is allocated. The manner in
which electors are appointed is left to the states (subject to
constitutional proscriptions on a few kinds of discrimination).
Univ. of Akron Law School
rich at uakron.edu
More information about the Conlawprof