As we near the 2010 Census, CMOR worries about preparations being derailed by the Census Bureau having to work under a continuing funding resolution, instead of receiving increased funds.

On April 28, 2008, CMOR wrote to Jim Nussle, director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), to quickly support "an emergency Fiscal Year 2008 (FY08) supplemental appropriation for the U.S. Census Bureau. The additional funds will ensure that the Census Bureau can continue uninterrupted and thorough preparations for a modified 2010 census that uses traditional paper-based methods to collect data in the field from unresponsive households."

CMOR reminded Director Nussle that, "the Secretary of Commerce and Census Director told Congress earlier in April that they are abandoning plans to use handheld computers, developed by Harris Corporation, for the most labor-intensive and costly census operation -- non-response follow up. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has designated the 2010 census as high risk, based on concerns about the Bureau’s ability to manage large information technology projects and the resulting uncertainty for census operations."

We also warned that "the 2010 census remains extremely vulnerable to operational difficulties and the possibility that the count will be less accurate than the 2000 census. The Census Bureau and Commerce Department, Harris Corporation, and congressional oversight committees all share some responsibility for failing to recognize and prevent, in a timely way, the failure of planned technological improvements in the census. Nevertheless, the primary goal now must be to ensure that the Census Bureau has the human and fiscal resources it needs to prepare for and successfully execute a revised census plan only two years from now. Census preparations must stay on schedule, without any delays or reductions in scope that are likely if Congress and the Administration cannot agree on sources of funding."

While CMOR recognizes "the economic constraints affecting federal budget decisions at this time... a complete and accurate census is fundamental to the work of the survey and opinion research profession, and to our democracy as a whole."