Due to a Supreme Court ruling this week, overturning a lower court's decision, October 15 is now the last day to complete a U.S. Census form. "So many advocates are a little bit anxious about, 'will the densus bureau do what they need to do to make sure that a complete and accurate count happens". Armed with tablets to help residents answer the questionnaire online, teams of advocates in New York City went canvassing in neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens.
In Los Angeles, Esperanza Guevara, the census campaign manager for the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights, was leading phone-banking efforts to encourage people to fill out the census form.
"Our phone banking team scrambled to put together one final push", Guevara said. Census data is used to divide seats in Congress among the states and allocate roughly $1.5 trillion in federal spending for the next 10 years.
The U.S. Census Bureau will accept census responses online at My2020Census.gov through October 15 at 11:59 p.m. Hawaii time. On Thursday, many filled out employee exit surveys and turned in the mobile devices they'd used while canvassing.
However, as noted by Ninth Circuit dissenting Judge Patrick Bumatay - with whom the justices agreed - the constitutional mandate for administration of the census does not mention "accuracy" in the count.
"The government now claims that this court's immediate intervention is necessary because, absent a stay, the bureau will not be able to meet the December 31 statutory deadline for reporting census results to the president", Sotomayor wrote. The Justice Department had told the court that "there is virtually no prospect that the [U.S. Census] Bureau will be able to comply with the statutory deadline", unless they were allowed to end the count.
President Donald Trump's administration had asked the nation's high court to suspend the district court's order permitting the 2020 census to continue through the end of the month.
The case arose after Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross changed a plan to extend the count until October 31 due the coronavirus pandemic, calling for a halt to the collection of data at the end of September. This, after multiple changes to the deadline in the past few weeks. The US Census Bureau on August 3 announced that it would wind down data collection by September 30, a month earlier than originally scheduled.
"My primary concern is that not only is there a lot of federal funding that is tied to the Census, but in Albany County our sales tax is distributed county-wide based on the population in our cities and towns in the county", she added.
However, the ruling increased the chances of the Trump administration retaining control of the process that decides how many congressional seats each state gets - and by extension how much voting power each state has.