Hart BOC Questions 2020 Census Results

Hart County is joining other communities in Georgia in considering an appeal to the 2020 Census results.

At their meeting Tuesday, Commissioner Joey Dorsey brought up the issue. Dorsey said after reading the Census results for Hart County, he knew there were discrepancies.

“We as a Board talked about this and we’re definitely going to question it,” he said Thursday. “We’re trying to understand what the true appeal process is if there is an appeal process. I know the City of Hartwell appealed their census population numbers and they got a slight increase. It wasn’t anything major but they did get an increase.”

The 2020 Census determined how $1.5 trillion in federal funding is distributed throughout the nation. Each person in Georgia not counted equals a loss of $2,500 per year in federal and state funding to a county or municipality. Over the next decade, that equates to a loss of $25,000 per person.

Dorsey said the 2020 Census results for Hart County showed just a population increase of 613 since 2010.

According to Dorsey, the 2020 Census numbers are far lower than even what the Hart County voter registration rolls show for the past 10 years.

“When you look at Hart County, in 2012 we had 12,746 registered voters. In 2020, we had 18,292. That’s a substantial increase,” he pointed out.

That’s an increase of more than 5,500 voters in Hart County from 2012 to 2020.

Two communities in South Georgia, along with White County recently announced they are also appealing their Census results. Both the town of Glennville and Chester have state prisons housing 100’s of inmates.  During the 2020 Census, those inmates were not counted as in the past.

County Board Chair Marshall Sayer said the same thing happened in Hart County which is home to the Whitworth State Womens’ Prison.

“All these years they (Census Bureau) have been including the Whitworth prison which houses about 400 people,” he said. “This year they took those out. So that makes a difference in the final number. I don’t know about other counties but ours have been counted every year, even when there was redistricting.”

Sayer noted the 2020 Census may have been hampered by the pandemic and the lack of people willing to go door to door, but said people were able to go online to register or call a toll-free number.

Sayer said the Board voted Tuesday to research the appeal process and they hope to discuss the matter further at their next meeting in February.