Disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic and last-minute changes by the Trump administration, the U.S. Census Bureau announced Wednesday that the release of the first results of the 2020 census will likely be delayed by four months.
The latest state population counts used to determine each state’s share of votes in the House of Representatives and the Electoral College for the next decade are now expected by April 30.
Those numbers were legally due by the end of last year. But the bureau missed that deadline last month for the first time since it was put in place in 1976. Career civil servants postponed releasing the counts in order to try to fix irregularities they began uncovering in census records shortly after Trump officials ended counting early in October…
The release date for the congressional apportionment counts has been in flux for weeks. As part of a National Urban League-led lawsuit over the Trump administration’s census schedule changes, Justice Department attorneys previously told a federal judge that the bureau was working towards finishing the processing of census records by March 6.
But that timeline was “not taking into account what we expect to find when we do data processing, which is anomalies that need to be corrected,” Styles said. “We have found anomalies, we will likely find more anomalies, and we will fix additional anomalies as we find them.”
The timing for the second set of new census results — the detailed demographic data that state redistricting officials need to redraw voting districts — remains unclear. That information is normally delivered to the states by the end of March.
“You should not expect it prior to July 30,” Styles said.
The delay ratchets up the pressure for states that are facing their own series of legal deadlines for the redistricting process in order to hold elections this year or next.
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