NEWS2 September 2020

Civil rights groups seek to block early US census deadline

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US – Civil rights organisations MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) and Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC have asked a federal court to prevent the 2020 census from ending early.

US census questionnaire

The groups have requested a temporary restraining order that would block the plan to end the counting of households at the end of September.

The organisations argue that cutting short the census would harm Latino and Asian American voters and violate the US constitution’s enumeration clause.

The Census Bureau said on 3rd August that it would end all counting efforts for the census on 30th September, a month earlier than previously planned as part of an extended timeline in response to Covid-19.

A number of US organisations and former Census Bureau directors have called for census operations to be pushed back until 2021 due to the impact of the pandemic.

Census data is used to apportion seats in the US House of Representatives, for redistricting and the allocation of federal funding.

John C. Yang, president and executive director of Advancing Justice-AAJC, said: “The decennial census needs to count everyone once and in the right place. But under the current schedule, the Census Bureau will not be able to achieve this constitutionally required goal.”