added a cross-tabulation of race by Hispanic origin. In a survey of reactions to the 1990 redistricting data program, 32 states said they used the race and ethnicity data, and 3 said positively that they did not (National Conference of State Legislatures, 1992:8). As noted above, not all states are covered by the preclearance provisions of the Voting Rights Act, although, potentially, redistricting plans in any state can be challenged under section 2. Overall, it seems clear that, for many states, the data are an important input to the redistricting process.

Whether this situation will continue unchanged in the future is unclear. The preclearance procedures of the Voting Rights Act are scheduled to be reviewed by Congress in 1997 and, in any event, to expire in 2007. However, the language of the 1982 amendments, although not guaranteeing the right to proportional representation, states that minority representation is a factor to be considered by the courts. Also, historically, the preclearance provisions have been extended every time the act has come up for renewal. It would seem prudent to expect that the census in the year 2000 and most likely in the year 2010 will need to supply block-level data on race and ethnicity for purposes of legislative redistricting.19

Adding a characteristic such as race or ethnicity to census requirements raises the issue of measurement error and, for designs that make use of administrative records, the issue of data availability. See Chapter 7 for a discussion of several questions and concerns with regard to obtaining race and ethnicity data from the census.

NOTES

1  

The provision in article 1, section 2 (also in article 1, section 9) that required direct taxes to be based on the census was effectively repealed by the Sixteenth Amendment, ratified in 1913, which stated that "the Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration."

2  

The current reapportionment formula, which uses the method of "equal proportions," was written into law at the time of the 1940 census (Anderson, 1988:189).

3  

For the panel's review of legal issues, a report was requested from the Congressional Research Service (CRS). The CRS review was prepared by Margaret Lee (1993), an attorney with its American Law Division. Lee's report was reviewed internally by the Congressional Research Service. The panel then asked three constitutional scholars with expertise on census issues to review the CRS report and to offer their opinions on several census issues of interest to the panel (e.g,. the use of sampling in the census). The panel relied on the consensus of these scholars as well as its own judgment for its interpretation of the CRS report.



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement