House Democrats Lose Vote On Census Method
By Ann Curley/CNN
WASHINGTON (Aug. 6) -- After heated floor debate on the merits of different methods proposed for conducting the 2000 census, House Democrats failed to pass a measure Wednesday allowing "statistical sampling" to be used for counting Americans. The measure was narrowly defeated, 227-201.
The amendment was offered by Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-W.Va.) to the massive Commerce, Justice, State and Judiciary appropriations bill. The amendment aimed to eliminate language limiting the use of money by the Census Bureau to "actual enumeration," or actually counting each person.
The Democrats wanted to allow the census to also use an averaging method -- "statistical sampling" -- for counting Americans.
Opponents of the measure, primarily Republicans, argued that statistical sampling is inaccurate . They fear that sampling would have the net effect of increasing the number of Democratic congressional districts, by boosting population counts in inner-city neighborhoods, where the Census officials believe there have been under-counts in past years.
Supporters of the amendment argued that enumeration is a time-consuming process that is equalled in accuracy by statistical sampling.