Sarah Silbiger / Bloomberg on Getty Images
Congressional Republicans are signaling that the Census Bureau cannot allocate the extra time it believes it needs to count all people in the U.S. during a coronavirus pandemic – even if it risks removing some of the population from 2020. Census.
In a hurry for the president to introduce new state populations by December 31, and more detailed data for states by 2021. March 31, as required by current federal law, can cause serious inaccuracies in the calculation of the decade, especially among colored people, immigrants, the rural population, and other historically underestimated groups.
With less than 95 days to go before the census bureau plans to communicate with the country’s population in late October, about four in 10 households across the country still have to be included in the constitutionally mandated number used to redistribute Congress seats, electoral college votes and federal funding between states.
Democrats in both the Senate and the House of Representatives, according to the April At the request of the Census Bureau and the Department of Commerce, passed laws allowing for a four-month extension of legal deadlines, including the House of Democrats ’latest draft law on coronavirus relief. which oversees the office.
But in his latest proposal to help with the coronavirus virus, which was announced Monday, Congressional Republicans are not offering extra time for the bureau, just $ 448 million more for field operations and data processing.
The White House press service did not answer the NPR’s question on whether the White House supports the Census Bureau’s request to extend the census by four months. The press service also did not answer the question of whether the White House had asked for additional funding for the office in the latest coronavirus aid package to conduct a “timely census,” as reported by The New York Times last week.
A short administration official, speaking on anonymity, told the NPR that a “timely census” simply means that it will be submitted within the statutory timeframe.
However, officials from the Supreme Census Bureau have already made it public that it is no longer possible to meet the legal deadlines in force.
In response to a question from NPR on 8 July. In an ongoing press release, the office’s associate director in 2020. Al Fontenot confirmed to the census: “We are going through the window so that we can count those numbers up to those dates at the moment.”
Fontenot’s comments echoed previous May. Comments from Tim Olson, Associate Field Operations Director. He said the office “has gone beyond the point where we can even meet current legal requirements on 31 December.”
Many proponents of the census are concerned that Republicans have not yet proposed an extension of the census deadline, a request that Commercial Secretary Wilbur Ross, appointed by President Trump, first submitted to Congress in April by a phone call without census bureau officials.
In the absence of a proposal in the GOP aid package, the Trump administration may have rejected its own request for these extensions, says Terri Ann Lowenthal, former director of the House of Census Chamber Subcommittee Terri Ann Lowenthal, now advising on census issues.
“If that is the case, then the administration is throwing the census office under the bus, forcing the agency to rush the rest of the census operations,” Lowenthal said in an email. “Persistent disruptions to the census plan will only reduce the likelihood of an accurate result.”
The Department of Commerce and the office of Senate Majority Chief Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Did not respond to NPR questions immediately after announcing the GS aid package on the Senate floor on Monday.
It is unclear whether the bureau needs to shorten the additional three months the bureau sent doorsteps to make sure historically underrated groups were included in the census on October 31 during coronavirus outbreaks across the country.
In an updated report posted on its website on Monday, the office said it was still “working on a plan to collect field data” by the end of October.
The Bureau’s report also noted that a new request for funding from the White House’s Office of Management and Budget would give him “schedule flexibility” to make calculations during a pandemic, including an attempt to collect field data as quickly and securely as possible. “
Office of the Chief Representative Michael Cook in April. The NPR said the agency’s “assessment” shows that continuing the count until the end of October means the bureau is unable to meet current legal deadlines for reporting census results.
Without additional time to process and prepare census results to compensate for delays caused by a pandemic, the office has little opportunity to try to resolve under-billing and incomplete information gathered about certain communities. This is especially true in areas where it can be difficult for a census office to reach a larger number of homes without even sending the door several times.
“If the number of segments of our population is too small,” explains former deputy director of the Census Bureau, Nancy Potok, who recently resigned as chief statistical officer, “there is only as much as the census bureau can do to use accepted statistical methods to account for households. which are clearly occupied but nothing is directly known about the population ”.
“The Census Bureau has made it clear that it takes extra time to conduct a high-quality census,” Potock added. “There’s no reason not to extend the deadline unless you’re trying to include too few groups of people in the census.”
The lack of clarity about the timing of the ongoing census will make it more difficult to try to secure a full census, says Jeri Green, who advises the National City League on census issues and has previously worked in the office as chief adviser on civic activism.
“Uncertainty about deadlines indicates a lack of respect for hard-working census workers, who may have to provide data unrealistically, closely, and because of our efforts as the National City League and other organizations persuade communities. colors so that they can react independently for an unknown period of time, ”says the Green report.
If Trump loses the presidential election to former vice president Joe Biden, compliance will end on December 31st. The deadline would ensure that the census distribution number is delivered to Trump while he is still in office.
This is the same number that Trump, with little authority, seeks to change by removing illegal immigrants, a step that is currently facing lawsuits from plaintiffs who are asking federal courts to declare it unconstitutional.
Since the April report, the office has been operating under the revised 2020 rules. Census plans, including the calculation of non-responding households, three months after the initial end date of 31 July.
The last months of the calculation are mainly for historically underestimated groups that are less likely to participate independently.
On Monday, the office announced that it would begin sending emails. Letters in an attempt to encourage more than 20 million households to participate in census activities in regions with a self-esteem rate of less than 50%. El. Letters will be sent from email@example.com.
All the uncertainties have forced many states to review their constitutions and go to court to come up with alternative plans to restructure polling stations after 2020. Census.
Legislators in New Jersey, one of two states, along with the state of Virginia, which plans to hold legislative elections next year, are considering a proposed amendment to the state’s constitution that, if approved by voters, would delay the rewriting of voting maps. which would then not enter into force until 2023.
Earlier this month, the California Supreme Court issued a ruling extending the deadlines for redistributing maps with provisions by at least four months if “additional federal delays” occur due to the “dynamism of the global pandemic.”
NPR White House Editor Roberta Rampton contributed to this report.