A FEDERAL judge ordered that the 2020 Census counting efforts must continue through the end of the month, not October 5.
This comes after the Census Bureau was found violating a previous order that had moved the decennial enumeration through the end of October 31.
U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in Northern California, in an order on Thursday, October 1, said that “perhaps the most egregious violation” of her previous injunction last week was when the Census Bureau on Monday, Sept. 28 tweeted that the deadline would be Oct. 5.
“The Secretary of Commerce has announced a target date of October 5, 2020 to conclude 2020 Census self-response and field data collection operations,” the bureau said in a tweet on Monday before a virtual hearing following up on Koh’s preliminary injunction.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross pushed Oct. 5 as a “target date” to end the enumeration in order to deliver the first set of census results to President Donald Trump by Dec. 31, according to NPR.
“The decision also risks further undermining trust in the Bureau and its partners, sowing more confusion, and depressing Census participation,” Koh wrote in her ruling on Thursday, Oct. 1. Last week, the judge said the U.S. Census Bureau must continue its outreach efforts through October 31 in order to have a more accurate count.
Koh — agreeing with civil rights organizations and local governments like Los Angeles that filed a lawsuit against the Census Bureau and U.S. Department of Commerce — said that the current schedule would leave out many minority and hard-to-count communities that have yet to respond.
“An undercount in any locality matters greatly,” the judge wrote in the preliminary injunction on Sept. 24, six days before the initial Sept. 30 deadline. “Even a small undercount of a subset of the hard to count population would result in the loss of federal funding.”
Koh’s new ruling this week also orders the Census Bureau to send a mass text to every census worker by Friday to let them know the head count will continue through this month.
A three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday, Sept. 30 ruled 2 to 1 letting Koh’s preliminary injunction stand. They argued that ceasing the count “risks undermining” the purpose of the census.
Filipino American Judge Patrick J. Bumatay, who was appointed by Trump, dissented on the ruling.
“Nearly every American’s plans this year have been roiled by the virus,” he wrote. “But it cannot roil the law.”
The once-a-decade enumeration — which can be done by phone (844-330-2020 for English), returning the mailed form, or heading online (my2020census.gov) — measures where individuals live as of April 1, 2020. That includes young children and infants, roommates, and family members or friends staying at the household, even if temporarily.
In addition to English and Spanish, completing the census online or by phone can be done in 11 other languages, including Tagalog (844-478-2020).
The results guide how over $1.5 trillion in federal funding will be allocated to states annually for resources, such as schools, health programs, and infrastructure projects. The data also determines the number of seats each state gets in the House of Representatives and the redrawing of legislative districts. (AJPress)