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Census Bureau Seeks Congressional Approval To Push Deadlines

The extended deadline for self-response is still August 14, for now. (Census Bureau)
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The Census Bureau is asking Congress for more time to turn in data from the 2020 Census for political apportionment—the process of determining congressional seats based on the country’s population count. Responses from this year’s census are supposed to be crunched and sent to the president by the end of December, but precautions against COVID-19 are reworking the bureau’s whole timeline.

At this point, the census self-response period and field operations (the door-knocking part of the count) have both been extended by two weeks, to August 14. For now, this deadline remains. But the bureau is looking to make bigger changes to ensure an accurate count in the face of the pandemic. The December apportionment deadline is constitutionally mandated, so any changes have to be approved by Congress.

Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), Chair of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, released a statement today saying the Trump Administration made the request this morning during a hastily arranged conference call. The congresswoman also stated that despite requesting a briefing from the Census Bureau since March 23, the Administration has declined to provide one.

Here’s the new timeline proposed by the Census Bureau:

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Self-Response Period

This is the final deadline for people to fill out the 2020 Census online, over the phone, or by mail.

Planned: Mar. 12-July 31 (Already extended to August 14)

Proposed revised dates: Mar. 12-Oct. 31

Group Quarters Count

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In-person canvassing conducted at homeless shelters, group homes, college dormitories.

Planned: April 2-June 5

Proposed revised dates: April 2-Sept. 3

Non-Response Follow Up

Canvassers visit households across the nation that haven't responded.

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Planned: May 13-July 31 (Already extended to August 14)

Proposed revised dates: August 11-October 31

Deliver apportionment counts to the President

By law, the Census Bureau will deliver each state’s population total, which determines its number of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Planned: December 31

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Proposed revised date: April 30, 2021