Just as the 2020 U.S. Census count is about to begin, the Republican National Committee is sending people across the country a letter it confusingly labeled as a “2020 Congressional District Census.”
Like the census, the piece of mail includes a survey. But unlike the official decennial questionnaire the federal government will soon send out to millions of Americans, this one is asking for donations to the GOP and a loyalty pledge to President Donald Trump. And it’s “Commissioned by the Republican Party,” according to the form, not the U.S. Department of Commerce.
A Democratic Party spokesman called the GOP mailers "reprehensible” and “intentionally deceptive,” according to the Los Angeles Times, which reported on the letters Friday after they arrived in California mailboxes.
The mailer also appeared in Florida this month and the Tampa Bay Times recently obtained one sent to a Tallahassee voter.
“You’ve been selected to represent voters in Florida’s 2nd Congressional District,” it says.
An envelope claims the mail is an “official document," according to the Los Angeles Times. “Do not destroy,” it says, while telling recipients, “Your participation is urgently needed.” In the four-page letter, Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel asks recipients to pledge support to President Donald Trump in 2020.
A Trump campaign spokeswoman wouldn’t tell the L.A. newspaper why the form used the word “census” or how many were sent out. She noted the document are marked as from the Republican Party.
The Trump administration has faced repeated accusations of trying to undermine the 2020 Census and suppress the number of responses in populous states. An attempt to put a citizenship question on the form was blocked by the U.S. Supreme Court last year.
The Census, sent out every 10 years to count the population, helps determine how much federal money goes to each state and how members of Congress are apportioned. An under count in Florida could give the state less representation in the U.S. House of Representatives and fewer votes in the electoral college.
Gov. Ron DeSantis created a committee last month to assist in ensuring an accurate count, making Florida one of the last states to do so.