[Your city, state and zip]
January 24, 2020
I am writing to ask you to help change how the U.S. Census counts people in prison by joining in an open letter written by New York State Senator Eric Schneiderman and St. Lawrence County Legislator Tedra Cobb to the U.S. Census Bureau. (Enclosed).
The Census Bureau currently counts people in prison not as residents of their home addresses but as residents of the correctional facilities where they are incarcerated. This conflicts with the New York State Constitution which says that people in prison remain residents of their home addresses. I am deeply concerned that this flawed data, when used in redistricting, creates electoral inequities at all levels of government.
I feel strongly that counting people in prison at their home addresses is important to democracy, and the Census Bureau must hear this from the legislators who use their data directly. I am therefore asking you as my representative in the Congress to ask the Census Bureau to change how it counts people in prison.
I ask that you send your own letter to the Census Bureau or sign on to the enclosed Schneiderman/Cobb letter.
The Prison Policy Initiative is coordinating signatures on the Schneiderman/Cobb letter. Their Executive Director is Peter Wagner, Prison Policy Initiative, PO Box 127, Northampton MA 01061 (413) 527-0845.
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter.
Enclosure: Schneiderman/Cobb letter to Census Bureau