When the Government Accountability Office labeled the 2020 census as a high-risk government program in February 2017, the Census Bureau planned to address many of its challenges by re-engineering the census infrastructure and relying on new time and money-saving applications.
Now, a July 16 GAO report details three primary concerns the watchdog agency has with the Bureau’s tech-based approach: untested innovations, implementation of IT systems and cybersecurity risks.
The Bureau plans to use online census forms, which it expects will not only reduce costs but also increase accessibility and efficiency. Other innovations include re-engineering field operations, using administrative records and verifying addresses in-office. While these innovations show promise, they lack proper testing, GAO said, which raises the possibility of unexpected risks.