Sampling best choice to make all men equal

The U.S. Constitution requires the federal government to undertake a census every 10 years. Census data is used for a myriad of purposes, not the least being the sizing of congressional districts. The 2000 census faces roadblocks, however, as Republicans attempt to derail the use of an invaluable tool: direct sampling.
Their efforts are motivated by political gain and ignore the scientific merit and important benefits direct sampling provides for the public. Republicans have a duty to put Americans ahead of their own party.
Direct sampling accounts for the omission of an actual headcount. If 70 percent of a district’s households initially respond to census takers, a 20 percent cross-section of unresponsive households will be targeted for intensive follow-up by enumerators. The Census Bureau will then estimate the characteristics of the remaining 10 percent based on the accurate 90 percent. This mathematically proper procedure could make this the most accurate census ever.
A differential miscount of minorities has been prevalent for decades, and 1990 witnessed blatant inaccuracies in the census count. The bureau spent $2.6 billion making painstaking efforts to account for the mistakes. With these problems, Congress demanded a cheaper, more effective and far more accurate census for the millennium.
Researchers concluded that introducing direct sampling would satisfy all these requirements. However, Republicans, driven by fear of lost House seats, argue that the direct sampling is unconstitutional, citing the words “actual enumeration” in Article I, Section 2. Yet, the Constitution gives Congress leeway in deciding census-taking methods, stating in the very same sentence that the census should be taken, “in such manner as [the Congress] shall by Law direct.”
In February 1998, The U.S. House of Representatives, at the behest of then-Speaker Newt Gingrich, filed a suit to prevent the use of direct sampling to produce the population counts used in congressional reapportionment. Republicans also attempted to blackmail President Clinton into banning direct sampling by attaching it to an important disaster relief bill. Clinton vetoed it.
Republicans are against direct sampling because it will lead to a more accurate representation of minorities in the census count. Since census data determines congressional districts, they expect the reapportionment of House seats following a more accurate census will eliminate the majority they now enjoy.
In the name of politics, the Republican Party is willing to derail a desperately needed overhaul of the census. If the United States is to grant equal representation to all citizens, it must have as precise a count of those citizens as possible. Direct sampling achieves this end, and should be adopted for 2000.