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Carper, Coons call for extension of Census deadlines

Delaware News Desk

Sens. Tom Carper and Chris Coons, both D-Delaware, joined a bipartisan group of 46 other senators Aug. 13 in calling for the extension of the statutory deadlines for the delivery of apportionment data and redistricting files following the 2020 census, urging House and Senate leaders to include the extension in the upcoming COVID-19 relief package. 

The U.S. Constitution requires a population census every 10 years and, under law, the census count is to be reported to the president by Dec. 31 of the census year. A change to that date would require Congressional action. The Donald Trump administration previously requested an extension in April of this year, but reversed course Aug. 3 and announced census self-response and field operations would end Sept. 30. 

“Extending the deadlines for the delivery of these files in the next COVID-19 relief package will ensure that the Census Bureau has adequate time to complete a full, fair and accurate 2020 census,” wrote the senators. “It will also ensure that both the Congress and the states receive accurate data for apportionment and redistricting.” 

Citing a request first made by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham to extend the deadlines for reporting census results to the president from Dec. 31 to April 30, 2021, and redistricting to July 31, 2021, the senators underscored the need to give the Census Bureau adequate time to collect and report an accurate count following delays due to the coronavirus pandemic. At that time, the Census Bureau also said they would continue counting efforts until Oct. 31, 2020.

Recently, the Trump administration reversed course by shortening the enumeration period from Oct. 31 to Sept. 30, 2020, limiting the time for the Census Bureau to complete an accurate count. Carper, Coons and 24 of their colleagues wrote the commerce secretary Aug. 6 to oppose this move due to concerns of the Census Bureau ending operations before completing a complete count.

The full text of the letter is available at bit.ly/3iA9gHO.