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Census Bureau says redistricting data will be delivered just one month before off-year elections

Pandemic delayed census operations "significantly," administrator says.

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A U.S. Census survey
A U.S. Census survey
(Smith Collection/Gado/Getty)
Updated: February 12, 2021 - 7:56pm

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The U.S. Census Bureau on Friday said that its 2020 redistricting data will be delivered to state houses on Sept. 30 of this year, just one month before this year's off-year elections. 

Census Bureau Chief of the Redistricting and Voting Rights Data Office James Whitehorne said in a blog post on Friday that, during a "typical decade," the bureau would presently "be on the verge of delivering the first round of redistricting data from the 2020 Census."

"However, COVID-19 delayed census operations significantly,"  Whitehorne said. The bureau is "focusing first on our constitutional obligation to deliver the state population counts for apportionment to the President," with a deadline of Apr. 30, he said.

After that, redistricting data is expected to be delivered to state houses "by Sept. 30, 2021," Whitehorne said. 

"This data delivery will be a single national delivery, rather than our originally-planned staggered delivery of redistricting data," he added. 

"We are acutely aware of the difficulties that this delayed delivery of the redistricting data will cause some states," he continued. "Some states have statutory or even state constitutional deadlines and processes that they will have to address due to this delay."

"The decision to have a single national delivery ensures that the Census Bureau can provide accurate, high quality, and fit-for-use data in the least total amount of time to all states," he stated. 

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