On April 20, a bipartisan group of legislators re-introduced legislation that would extend two key statutory deadlines for the 2020 Census. The 2020 Census Deadline Extensions Act would set the deadline for the U.S. Census Bureau to release apportionment data to April 30, 2021 and extend the deadline to deliver redistricting data to the states and localities to September 30, 2021. NACo endorsed this legislation, which, if enacted, would provide the Census Bureau with additional time to process 2020 Census data after collection delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The original deadlines for the 2020 Census were delayed due to impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, which grounded field operations for much of 2020 and stalled the compilation of data for apportionment. The legislation would ensure that the U.S. Census Bureau has the proper legal authority to submit their results in a timely manner while ensuring the accurate and complete compilation of data for the 2020 Census. With over a trillion dollars in federal funding apportioned each year based on Census results, an accurate and complete count is crucial for county governments and their residents. Funding for health care, economic development, roads and infrastructure, education, and other critical county responsibilities are all informed by Census results.
Counties also recognize the redistricting process may impact the communities in which local elected officials represent, and the integrity of the 2020 Census results are paramount to this effort.
Companion legislation was introduced in the U.S. House of by Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), Jimmy Gomez (D-Calif.), Gerald Connolly (D-Va.), Don Young (R-Alaska), and Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.).
NACo will monitor the status of the legislation, as well as any other updates regarding the 2020 Census.