Commerce secretary says 2020 census will end Oct. 5 despite court order

Commerce secretary says 2020 census will end Oct. 5 despite court order
Photo via Gage Skidmore.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross is doubling down on the 2020 census deadline despite a federal judge's court order ordering the count to continue through the end of October.

On Monday, the U.S. Census Bureau released a tweeted notice based on a directive from Ross. According to the tweet, United States citizens' ability to independently respond to the census questionnaire along with the door-knocking phase of the census process will conclude on October 5.

"The Secretary of Commerce has announced a target date of October 5, 2020 to conclude 2020 Census self-response and field data collection operations," the U.S. Census Bureau tweeted.

The new deadline has raised concern for the American public. Many have taken to Twitter with their reaction to Ross' announcement while stressing the importance of the United States obtaining an accurate census count.

However, according to NBC News, it is not a direct violation of the judge's ruling.

The injunction only suspended the Sept. 30 deadline for field operations, along with the Dec. 31 deadline the Census Bureau has to provide its documented figures which are used for the purpose of apportionment — a process used to determine the number of congressional seats each state should receive.

Ross' latest directive comes amid an ongoing battle over deadlines for the once-in-a-decade population count due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Souli Shanklin, a judge in Edwards County, Texas noted that the county's self-respond rate was just over 18% as he highlighted the importance and benefits of the population count.

"Maybe people just don't want to be counted, you know? It's just like asking who you voted for. People don't want to say, you know – afraid to be attacked, or whatever, you know. People want to be left alone," said Souli Shanklin, the Edwards County judge.

He continued, "But you know, it affects our revenue off of it. You know, our poverty level and everything else and the number of people that we have in the county. But like we're saying now, our absentee landowners far exceed our general population."


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