SACRAMENTO — Census 2000 looms just over five months away, and no state stands to lose more in federal aid — and quite possibly political clout — than California. Should it re-enact 1990′s disastrous undercount, the state would risk billions of dollars in federal support for social programs and a chance to add two new members to its congressional delegation.

That’s why a San Francisco-based coalition of civil rights and minority groups convinced an initially reluctant Gov. Gray Davis to include $24.7 million in this year’s budget for a massive, community-based get-out-the-count drive. No state has promised a larger monetary outlay.

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