(PresidentialWire.com)- All efforts of counting people for the 2020 census will end on September 30, a month earlier than previously planned.
That was announced in a statement Monday by Steven Dillingham, the director of the U.S. Census Bureau. This means all efforts to try to collect responses by mail, over the phone and by knocking on people’s doors will halt in a little less than two months.
This change is being made to “accelerate the completion of data collection and apportionment counts by our statutory deadline of December 31, 2020, as required by law and directed by the Secretary of Commerce, Dillingham said in the statement.
This shortening of the counting window has some people worried that the 2020 census will now not accurately count the U.S. population. Getting the most accurate count possible is essential, as federal funding and political representation for the next 10 years is determined by this census.
To date, the Census Bureau has only counted roughly six out of 10 people across the country. Their efforts to do so have been compromised by the coronavirus pandemic.
The last-ditch efforts by the Census Bureau are usually key to reaching people in rural areas, people who rent, immigrants and people of color, as these groups of people are traditionally not likely to fill out a census form on their own.
Bureau officials already planned to cut down on efforts to knock on doors to count people. The scaled-back efforts in this arena started in July and will expand across the country next week.
The original plan was for counting efforts for the 2020 census to be wrapped up at the end of July. That was before the coronavirus pandemic began, though. In April, the Census Bureau announced it would extend its deadline to October 31 to make sure a proper counting could be completed — a move that President Donald Trump supported.
In April, the Census Bureau requested Congress to allow it to push back the legal deadline by which they have to report the updated population counts to the president. They asked for a four-month extension on the December 31 deadline. They wanted to do this so they could continue counting after October 31, to “ensure the completeness and accuracy of the 2020 Census.”
Last week, though, Dillingham gave testimony in front of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, saying, “the Census Bureau and others really want us to proceed as rapidly as possible.”
This means the Census Bureau will have roughly five months less time to count than they had originally hoped when they asked Congress for that extension. Many people in Washington believe this could greatly compromise the integrity and accuracy of the 2020 census itself, which again is vitally important for many people across the country.
In their coronavirus relief package, House Democrats proposed legislation to extend the deadlines for the Census Bureau. To date, Republicans haven’t introduced any similar legislation, though that certainly could happen in the coming weeks as negotiations continue.