Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and U.S. Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit) say they may appeal the U.S. Census Bureau's population tally for Detroit when it is announced.
They described the Bureau's counting efforts in Detroit as "deficient and haphazard," and said that puts the city at risk for an undercount.
"The truth of the matter is, they started later in Detroit, understaffed Detroit, and shut it down earlier for one reason," said Duggan. "There appears to be a national strategy to undercount cities, and it appears to be hitting Detroit most effectively."
Duggan said he could turn out to be wrong.
But he said he and Tlaib are launching an information gathering effort now to be ready to challenge an undercount, if that's necessary.
Duggan is asking Census workers in Detroit and the surrounding areas to come forward with information by calling 866-20-COUNT.
"Were you out working full days? Did you have the appropriate lists of what houses to go to? Did you have proper supervision? Did you have your tablets?" said Duggan. "I would be very happy to find out I'm wrong. But all evidence I have right now suggests there was an intentional undercount effort here."
The Census Bureau is expected to announce the head count in December.
Census counts are used to allocate trillions of federal dollars and to apportion political power in Congress.
The Census Bureau could not immediately be reached for comment.