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2020 Census will count prisoners based on where they’re incarcerated

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The Census Bureau has announced it will count prisoners as residents of the localities in which they are incarcerated rather than their home towns in the 2020 census. That's the bureau's longstanding practice, but advocates had hoped to push through a change.

Why it matters: Every 10 years, lawmakers use census data to draw proportional legislative and Congressional districts. Criminal justice reform advocates have long argued that counting prisoners who can't vote as residents of the towns where they’re incarcerated gives disproportionate representation to people who cast their ballots there. Only Maine and Vermont allow convicted felons to vote while in prison.