2020 Census to continue through October; RI still pushing for deadline next week

Politics

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP/WPRI) — A federal judge has stopped the 2020 census from finishing at the end of September and ordered the once-a-decade head count of every U.S. resident to continue for another month through the end of October, saying a shortened schedule likely would produce inaccurate results.

The goal is to collect all of the first numbers reported by the end of the year, but because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Trump Administration decided to shorten the timeline to collect data to Sept. 30.

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in California made her ruling late Thursday, two days after hearing arguments from attorneys for the Census Bureau, and attorneys for civil rights groups and local governments that had sued the Census Bureau in an effort to halt the 2020 census from stopping at the end of the month.

Attorneys for the civil rights groups and local governments said the shortened schedule would undercount residents in minority and hard-to-count communities.

Koh said inaccuracies produced from a shortened schedule would affect the distribution of federal funding and political representation. The census is used to determine how $1.5 trillion in federal spending is distributed each year and how many congressional seats each state gets.

Government attorneys had argued that the census must finish by the end of September to meet a Dec. 31 deadline for turning over numbers used for deciding how many congressional seats each state gets.

Efforts are continuing to complete the count by Sept. 30 in Rhode Island. In the Ocean State, if the census shows a decline in population, the state is at risk of losing a Congressional seat to represent them in Washington.

Rhode Island is set to lose one of its two U.S. House seats after the 2020 Census, according to an analysis of newly released population data.

Koh’s preliminary injunction suspends the Dec. 31 deadline, too. The San Jose, California-based judge had previously issued a temporary restraining order prohibiting the Census Bureau from winding down field operations until she made a ruling in the lawsuit.

Attorneys for the Census Bureau and the Department of Commerce, which oversees the agency, had said during the hearing they would likely appeal.

If you haven’t filled out the census or aren’t sure, you can head to my2020census.gov. There will also be three census events in Providence on Friday and one on Saturday.

DATE START TIME HOST / ORGANIZATION ADDRESS 
Fri Sept. 25 2 p.m.State of RI Office of the Governor 207 Cranston Street, Providence 
Fri Sept. 25 2:45 p.m.Providence City Council 300 Hartford Avenue, Providence 
Fri Sept. 25 5 p.m.State of RI Office of the Governor 393 Broad Street, Providence 
Sat Sept. 26 1:15 p.m.Providence City Council 515 Wickenden Street, Providence 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Providence

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