Bipartisan bill would help ensure accurate count by extending deadlines to report data, complete Census field operations

(U.S. Senate) – In response to the Trump Administration’s reckless efforts to prematurely end its constitutionally mandated Census count, U.S. Senator Jon Tester is cosponsoring the bipartisan 2020 Census Extension Act to extend two key statutory deadlines for the 2020 Census and require the Census Bureau to continue field operations through October 31, 2020.   

“The implications of an incomplete or inaccurate Census count would be felt across Montana for the next ten years,” Tester said. “A second Congressional seat in addition to federal support for local governments, schools, health care and more hinge on a fair and accurate Census count—something that is already notoriously difficult to get in frontier and Native American communities across the Treasure State. Without these extensions, hardworking Montana families stand to lose big.”  

Montana currently ranks second to last in overall response rate. The 2020 Census Extension Act would require the Census Bureau to continue 2020 Census field operations until October 31, 2020, giving the Census Bureau more time to ensure every Montanan is counted. Additionally, the bill extends the deadline for the delivery of apportionment data to the U.S. House of Representatives from December 31, 2020 to April 30, 2021 and extends the statutory delivery of redistricting data to states from March 31, 2021 to July 31, 2021.  

Delays in census operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the decision to end field operations on early, on September 30, 2020, could result in a severe undercount of the population—specifically Native American, minority, and rural communities across the country. Extensions for both statutory deadlines would allow the Census Bureau to continue collecting and processing data, leading to a more complete and accurate count. 

Senator Tester has slammed the Administration’s decision to end its effort to count all Americans a month early. He pressed the Census Bureau and Department of Commerce to maintain the previously announced completion date for field operations, and called on Congressional leadership to include extensions of the statutory deadlines for delivery of apportionment data and redistricting files to be included in the next COVID-19 relief package. 

Full text of the legislation can be found HERE.

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