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Friday, October 23, 2020

Broad Coalition Calls on Senate to Extend 2020 Census Data Processing Deadlines

 Broad Coalition Calls on Senate to Extend 2020 Census Data Processing Deadlines

 370 national, state, and local groups support bipartisan legislation to extend the time to get a complete and accurate 2020 count

 Washington, D.C. – Underscoring the importance and urgency of extending statutory reporting deadlines for apportionment and redistricting data, a diverse and consequential array of local, state, and national organizations urged U.S Senators today to “to give the U.S. Census Bureau sufficient time to thoroughly implement complex data processing activities and complete the most accurate 2020 Census possible.”

Specifically, they urged senators to cosponsor or support the bipartisan 2020 Census Deadline Extensions Act (S. 4571), which would extend the statutory deadlines for delivering apportionment and redistricting data to April and July 2021, respectively, as the administration requested in April 2020.

“Failure to push back the statutory reporting deadlines is forcing the Census Bureau to cut short critical 2020 Census data processing and quality check operations from the usual five months down to only two and a half months,” the groups stated, stressing the incredibly compressed time frame simply to meet pre-Covid-19 statutory deadlines.

“The Census Bureau’s count of the nation was incomplete, their work is not done, and the 2020 Census is not over,” said Beth Lynk, director of the Census Counts Campaign. “Perhaps the most critical phase to get a quality count is now underway, but it’s been dramatically cut short as a consequence of counting delays due to Covid-19 disruptions.”

Mary Jo Hoeksema of the Census Project stated that, “Data processing activities designed to take 153 days before the pandemic derailed the original plan, now have to be done in 92 days under the accelerated plan. The President asked for an extension in April, and Congress should give the nation the time needed to get the count right.”

The appeal to senators from a broad and diverse collection of stakeholders is rooted in the 10-year consequences for states, localities and even neighborhoods of getting the 2020 count wrong.  The letter emphasized that, “…[a] rushed census during a pandemic inevitably will lead to misallocation of political representation, government funding, and private sector investment in every state and community. If data processing operations are not thorough, communities most in need of resources to improve quality of life and standards of living will not receive their fair share for the next decade. Accurate data from the 2020 Census are critical to informed decision-making and resource allocation by the public and private sectors, including preparation for and recovery from natural disasters and public health crises.”

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