'Whoa, that's not right': Georgia towns lead census appeals

Three rural Georgia communities are the first in the U.S. to challenge the accuracy of their 2020 census numbers. Experts say the pandemic and a lack of reliable broadband may have led to discrepancies in Chester, Glennville and White County.

1/22/2022 10:01:00 PM

Three rural Georgia communities are the first in the U.S. to challenge the accuracy of their 2020 census numbers. Experts say the pandemic and a lack of reliable broadband may have led to discrepancies in Chester, Glennville and White County.

When officials in Chester, Georgia, heard that the 2020 census had pegged their small town at 525 people, their jaws dropped. They believed the town was almost triple that size and feared an inaccurate number could force them to make budget cuts.

, and prisons and nursing homes went into lockdowns when those residents were supposed to be counted.In Georgia, inmates are supposed to be counted where they are imprisoned. About a dozen other states areat their home addresses when it comes to drawing political districts.

ADVERTISEMENTproposed creating a separate programto accept challenges for dorms, military barracks, nursing homes and prisons. The local officials in Georgia aren’t waiting around.In Glennville, where more than a third of the population is Black, the 2020 census counted 3,834 people. The 2019 estimates said there were 5,066 people, and Glennville officials say the 2020 number should be more than 5,300 residents because they believe the 1,500 or so inmates at Smith State Prison weren’t counted.

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MikeSchneiderAP Wanting to have it both ways is nothing new This deed lays at the feet of SenatorSinema And Sen_JoeManchin They have given comfort and cover to the devil's brew of Republican insanity. Ok the city with triple the number reported on the census is pretty impressive. Woah Grant_Blank_

Students were sent home from campuses , and prisons and nursing homes went into lockdowns when those residents were supposed to be counted. In Georgia, inmates are supposed to be counted where they are imprisoned. About a dozen other states are at their home addresses when it comes to drawing political districts. ADVERTISEMENT proposed creating a separate program to accept challenges for dorms, military barracks, nursing homes and prisons. The local officials in Georgia aren’t waiting around. In Glennville, where more than a third of the population is Black, the 2020 census counted 3,834 people. The 2019 estimates said there were 5,066 people, and Glennville officials say the 2020 number should be more than 5,300 residents because they believe the 1,500 or so inmates at Smith State Prison weren’t counted. “It’s not that they did anything wrong. It was just an oversight. You had to take into account we had COVID and people weren’t allowed in or out,” Stan Dansby, Glennville’s city manager, said of the prison. A combination of the pandemic and a lack of reliable broadband for filling out the census questionnaire online may have led to discrepancies in the counts in rural Georgia, said Heather Feldman, executive director of the Georgia Mountains Regional Commission. “Unlike many areas of the country, Georgia was seeing extremely high cases of COVID-19,” Feldman said in an email. “Unlike the metro areas where population is dense, door-to-door census counters may not have gone to harder to reach areas of rural counties.” The scope of appeals allowed by the Census Bureau is narrow — mistakes in recording boundaries or housing skipped during data processing. Revisions to population and housing totals were made to about 1% of the nation’s 39,000 governments after the 2010 census. The census challenges won’t change the number of congressional seats each state gets or the numbers used for redrawing political districts. Other communities have signaled they plan to challenge their census numbers, including several college towns and the cities of