Supreme Court permits early end to census count

On Tuesday, October 13, the Supreme Court ruled that the Trump administration could end the door-to-door counting phase of the census on October 15, two weeks earlier than originally planned. The administration had originally extended the deadline for counting from the end of July to the end of October in response to the pandemic. Later, the administration announced that the count would end at the end of September instead. A lawsuit had blocked the early end, but the Supreme Court decision overruled that order.

Plaintiffs had argued that the early end would result in significant undercounts, primarily of urban residents and indigenous people, which would leave them underrepresented when political districts are drawn and federal funds are allocated to states.

The Trump administration is still pursuing a proposal to exclude undocumented immigrants from the count, despite the Constitution’s requirement that “the whole number of people in each state” be used to apportion representatives to states. The court will take up that dispute later this year.

Published by Matthew Saltzman, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences, Clemson University. President, the COIN-OR Foundation, Inc. Director for Redistricting, League of Women Voters of South Carolina

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