The League joined the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, The Census Project, and over 100 organizations, urging Senators to cosponsor the bipartisan 2020 Census Deadline Extensions Act (S. 1267), which would extend the statutory deadlines for delivering apportionment and redistricting data to May 1, 2021 and October 1, 2021. Extending the statutory reporting deadlines for apportionment and redistricting data from the 2020 Census will establish certainty for states and localities that must draw new, fair electoral districts.
Restore Certainty to the 2020 Census Timeline Cosponsor S. 1267, the Bipartisan 2020 Census Deadline Extensions Act
On behalf of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, The Census Project, and the 105 undersigned organizations, we write to underscore the importance and urgency of extending statutory reporting deadlines for apportionment and redistricting data from the 2020 Census. We urge you to cosponsor the bipartisan 2020 Census Deadline Extensions Act (S. 1267), which would extend the statutory deadlines for delivering apportionment and redistricting data to May 1, 2021 and October 1, 2021, respectively, to reflect the updated 2020 Census timeline compelled by major pandemic-related delays and to establish certainty for states and localities that must draw new, fair electoral districts.
The secretary of commerce is required by current law to transmit census numbers for congressional apportionment to the president by December 31, 2020, and to transmit redistricting data to the states by April 1, 2021. However, the coronavirus pandemic disrupted or delayed every 2020 Census operation, including critical data processing and quality checks. The Census Bureau completed those important operations thoroughly last month and delivered the apportionment numbers to the secretary on April 26, 2021. The bureau is now processing the more detailed data required for redistricting and has announced that it will release high-quality redistricting data by August 16, 2021 and transmit the same data to designated government officials in a more user-friendly format by September 30, 2021.
Codifying new deadlines will restore predictability and certainty for states and localities that must draw new, fair electoral districts — for Congress, state legislatures, city councils, and school boards — for the next decade. It also will establish certainty for the Census Bureau and the federal courts.
Since the pandemic upended the census schedule, the bureau has frequently reached out to each state to understand their redistricting timelines and to provide updates on the progress of data processing. The Census Bureau needs sufficient time to complete several internal and external expert evaluations of census data quality before it finalizes and publishes the redistricting numbers. The certainty of new statutory deadlines will set a realistic, clear timeframe for the Census Bureau to complete vital and complex data processing, quality checks, and tabulation work thoroughly and carefully, while recognizing the need to minimize disruption to state redistricting timelines to the extent possible.
We hope you will join the bipartisan group of original sponsors in both chambers working to ensure the stability of the apportionment and redistricting processes that the U.S. Constitution envisions by cosponsoring S. 1267. If you can co-sponsor this critical legislation, please contact Trelaine Ito, Office of Senator Brian Schatz, at [email protected]@senate.gov or Amber Ebarb and Devin O’Brien, Office of Senator Lisa Murkowski, at [email protected] and Devin_O’[email protected] Should you or your staff have any questions, please feel free to contact Corrine Yu, The Leadership Conference senior program director, at [email protected], or Mary Jo Hoeksema, The Census Project co-director, at [email protected]
See Attached Letter for Full List of Signatories
The League joined national civil rights, voting rights, labor and criminal justice organizations in submitting comments to the Census Bureau asking that incarcerated persons be counted at their home address, rather than the prison facility they occupy on census day. The League believes that if the Census Bureau modified its residence rule with respect to incarcerated persons, all states and localities will have the opportunity to more accurately and equitably reflect the incarcerated population in their redistricting plans.