Friday, October 30, 2009

New Jersey students hit the mock polls

Image source

New Jersey Press Association- If New Jersey's schoolchildren could vote in the General Election next Tuesday, they would choose incumbent Gov. Jon S. Corzine to continue as the state's governor.

In addition to their selection of Corzine as governor, 74.24 percent of the students voted to approve the Green Acres, Water Supply and Floodplain Protection, and Farmland and Historic Preservation Bond Act of 2009, the Public Question on this year's statewide ballot.

Corzine, the Democratic candidate, received 46.8 percent of the votes cast in the New Jersey Student/Parent Mock Election at 183 of the state's schools. Republican Chris Christie received 31.8 percent of the Mock Election vote and Independent Christopher J. Daggett received 13.5 percent. Seven other independent candidates received a total of 7.9 percent of the statewide vote. Results will continue to be updated through the General Election on November 3.

Voting results for each New Jersey county, as well as the statewide results, are available at .

Read more.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

More on Redistricting

With 2009 elections approaching, the 2010 Census on the horizon, and America's midterm elections only a year away, now is the time to take a few minutes to understand what it means to redraw our district lines. Here are a few useful and fun learning tools.

A Citizen's Guide to Redistricting from the Brennan Center's Democracy site - downloadable in pdf form.

The ReDistricting Game - A fun and interactive way to see how partisan elected officials have the ability essentially choose their voters.

Redistricting the Nation- Get a street-level map of your congressional district, state senate district, state representative district and local district, along with the corresponding current elected officials! Find your legislators; then, check out some of the crazy district shapes this country has.

Redistricting the nation

Cool free online redistricting tool launched by the company Avencia in preparation for the 2010 Census!
By entering your address, you'll render a street-level map of your congressional district, state senate district, state representative district and local district, along with the corresponding current elected officials! Comes with easy-to-navigate tabs along the top you can use to switch views, and links to your state legislature and constitution. Find your legislators; then, check out some of the crazy district shapes this country has!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Voting Information Project

Cool initiative for those of us trying to make polling place information easily available to our constituents online -

The Voting Information Project has developed an open data format with which state election divisions can publish their voting information. Other organizations or individuals, such as newspapers, search engines, and civic-minded technologists, will parse the data contributed by the states and disseminate the information in the form of easy-to-use websites, maps, and other tools.

They have a sample tool up and running for Virginia's 2009 election, which maps your polling place location on GoogleMaps after you enter your address. Word on the street is that they hope to have similar tools for at least 25 states in 2010.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Oh, Wow.

Were you frustrated by the old, confusing (not to mention hideous) 2010 Census website?

Well, check out now, because 2010 has relaunched...and it's beautiful!

I especially love the new Multimedia Center, which makes it MUCH easier to get the newest census videos and photos for use in newsletters and websites. We're still getting used to the new navigation, but among the many improvements are:

1. An interactive guide to the Census form, which allows you to roll over any question on the questionnaire and get in-depth explanations.

2. An attractive, easy to read list of key dates for the 2010 Census.

3. A page dedicated to FAQs on Census privacy, an issue that has been concerning (and confusing) many in recent months.

4. A blog! Director Groves has made his first, very humble post on the brand new 2010 Census blog. Check out his first post below:

A Look from the Inside

I’m new to the role of Census Bureau Director and new to blogging.

My idea is to use this blog to let you know my thoughts about how the country is doing as we approach this “national ceremony” that occurs every 10 years – the decennial census.

I can’t promise great humor. I can’t guarantee fascinating or gifted writing.

I will tell it like it is, as I see it. Hopefully, you’ll find it interesting, as together we all approach April 1, 2010, where each of us have the right and responsibility to return a census questionnaire.

The census is a massive undertaking, with over 1 million employees working to gather information from you and me, to repaint the portrait of America. I’ll try to give you a sense of what that effort looks like from the inside.

Feel free to share my posts with your friends; feel free to comment. It will be more fun for all if we use this blog to have our voices heard.

Stay tuned. I’ll probably have a new post twice a week or so, more when a lot of things are happening.

-Director Robert M. Groves

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Check out Queer the, a project of The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and CREDO Action to have the US Census form include a question on sexual orientation. Includes some good background information on issues surrounding sexual orientation and inclusion in the Census.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Hagase Contar launches website to count all Latinos in Census 2010

NALEO has launched a new Census website and initiative, "Hagase Contar," part of their Ya Es Hora program, to count every Latino in the 2010 Census. The site offers FAQs, key dates, ways to get involved, sample forms and more, all in Spanish and English. Way to go, NALEO!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Interesting tidbits on uses of Census Bureau Data in FY2007 Federal Funds Distribution

This pie chart represents the distribution, by category, of the nearly $4.5 billion in federal funds distributed among 140 federal programs during the fiscal year 2007 on the basis of Census Bureau data (data from the Lisa Blumerman and Philip Vidal of the Census Bureau.)

The following programs received less than <1% Small Business Administration, Commerce, National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities, Energy, Corporation for National and Community Service (Americorps), Interior, Environmental Protection Agency, Homeland Security and Justice.
Also interesting - out of the 140 programs receiving the $4.5 trillion in federal funds based on Census data, 11 programs (or 8%) received 85% of these funds. This chart represents the distribution of funds allotted to the top 11 programs.

Census Bureau Estimates of Federal Funding

Just came across an interesting report from the Census Bureau, "Uses of Population and Income Statistics in Federal Funds Distribution –With a Focus on Census Bureau Data." The report estimates that in 2007 alone, about $435 billion in federal funds was distributed to the states, an estimate that closely matches the Brookings Institution's estimate.
The report goes on to list many of the program funded. Here are the top 10.
Federal Program Federal Grant in 2007
  1. Public Housing Capital Fund $2,493,865,000
  2. Child and Adult Care Food Program $2,303,732,494
  3. School Breakfast Program $2,228,842,422
  4. Federal Transit Capital Investment Grants $2,089,825,532
  5. Child Care and Development Block Grant $2,051,200,000
  6. Low-Income Home Energy Assistance $1,978,500,000
  7. Adoption Assistance $1,942,289,000
  8. Home Investment Partnerships Program $1,715,671,000
  9. Social Services Block Grant $1,700,000,000
  10. Prevention/Treatment of Substance Abuse $1,670,661,450

Monday, October 5, 2009

NVEN Partner MNA in the news: "Foundations fund effort for accurate census"

From Crain's Detroit Business:
Michigan nonprofits are being asked to play an unprecedented role to make sure each person in the state gets counted in the 2010 census.

In the absence of the typical $500,000 or so in state funding for census promotion, four foundations have stepped up with $300,000 in grants made to the Michigan Nonprofit Association for pass-through to other nonprofits for census promotion initiatives.

Those foundations are the Troy-based Kresge Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in Battle Creek, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation in Flint and the Chicago-based Joyce Foundation.

“While the current (state) budget discussions are important, they won't be as long-lasting as the consequences of the census,” said Kyle Caldwell, president of the Michigan Nonprofit Association.

Federal funding for the region and state for the next decade will hinge on the census count, said Sam Singh, former president of MNA and a consultant with Public Policy Associates, on loan to MNA for the census campaign.

For every person missed in the official count, an estimated $12,000 in federal funding will be lost over the next decade, he said, or about $1.2 million for every 1,000 people not counted.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Census Adds Languages to Advance Letter

The Census Project has just released a new Census News Brief highlighting the bureau's recent decision to include messages in languages other than English on the advance letter sent to all households next winter. The advance letter announces the start of the census and the imminent arrival of census forms at each home. The revised letter will direct recipients, in Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, and Russian, as well as English, to the 2010 Census web site for assistance in filling out the questionnaire. The 2010 Census Web site is scheduled to launch later this month.

The News Brief also notes that the bureau also is adding a targeted follow-up mailing to its outreach arsenal, to reach households in census tracts where at least ten percent of households speak primarily Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, or Russian. The new postcard will feature messages in all six questionnaire languages, telling recipients to call a toll-free number for assistance.