Columnist Cal Thomas’ argument in favor of adding a citizenship question to the national Census (The Daily Progress, July 6) fails to mention a key component in the debate. Thomas Hofeller was a Republican Party operative who was instrumental in the party’s gerrymandering efforts across the country.

After his death, it was discovered that he had also been involved in efforts to influence the Commerce Department to add a citizenship question to the Census. The reason? Such a question would intimidate citizens, even legal citizens who had family members that were undocumented, into not answering the Census at all.

This would, quoting Mr. Hofeller’s analysis of Texas state legislative districts, “be advantageous to Republicans and non-Hispanic whites” (according to The New York Times, May 30).

The Commerce Department and Secretary Wilbur Ross went on to lie to the Supreme Court about this data and Mr. Hofeller’s involvement.

There will be no consequences for these lies, because there are no consequences for any sort of political malfeasance in the current administration. However, it clearly shows what is actually motivating this whole debacle. This is voter suppression, pure and simple.

The Republicans specifically, and the conservative movement more generally, cannot win elections by maximizing exclusively their main demographic. So they attempt to negate the votes of those that do not fall into that group. Hence gerrymandering and hence this Census question, which is a naked attempt to intimidate legal, non-white citizens.

Mr. Thomas finishes his column with the accusation that “Democrats want the citizenship question left off … so they can import more future voters.” He says they are trying to “skewer districts to create a permanent electoral majority.”

I’d say that he’s right, but for the wrong reasons. Yes, Democrats do want to expand the voting franchise to more people. That’s democracy. Republicans seek to deny it at every turn. That’s not democracy. They have already “skewered” voting districts. They have already created undemocratic maps. Because that’s the only way they can win. This Census question is one more dirty trick in a long line of similar behavior.

Andrew Levisay

Albemarle County

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