Secretary of State says he will take legal action — if necessary — to keep census information confidential and secure

August 7, 2019 /

The Secretary of the State of California promised at a census regional meeting in Bakersfield Wednesday to fight to keep information provided in the 2020 Census confidential in secure.

Alex Padilla, secretary of state and the chair of the California Complete Count Committee, assured there are federal laws in place to protect information required on the census. If those were to come into question, Padilla said he would take legal action, if necessary.

“We will provide political pressure, if necessary, legislative pressure, if necessary, and bring about legal action, if necessary, to protect the privacy and security of all of our information,” Secretary of State Alex Padilla told South Kern Sol.

Although the Supreme Court recently ruled against the addition of a citizenship question on the census form, many still worry their information could be shared with other government agencies, which could play a negative role in trying to get an accurate count.

Padilla emphasized the importance of the 2020 census at the meeting. Not only does the census affect California state funding, but it can also impact the number of representatives the state receives and redistricting.

California’s diverse population presents many difficulties when trying to get an accurate count.

“Nearly 70 percent of Californians fit some form of hard-to-count criterion,” Padilla said. “We have our work cut out for us.”

To ensure an accurate count, the state is allocating $180 million to census outreach efforts, Padilla said.

The state has also decided to place census information in voter information guides, set to be handed out in February 2020 before the March primary election. The voter guides will go out to nearly 20 million households, Padilla said.

It has also started an email list — which as of right now consists of 13 million email addresses — with the hopes to spread the word of the importance of the census.

“Our goal is to have every state department do what they can to help spread the word — to have every county, every city, every school district help spread the world,” Padilla said. “There is something we can all do in helping spread the word and assist residents in participating in the 2020 census.”

Elizabeth Sanchez

Elizabeth Sanchez

Elizabeth Sanchez is the program associate for South Kern Sol. She can be reached at elizabeth@southkernsol.org.