featured graphic for We Draw the Lines California Citizens Redistricting Commission during COVID-19

Citizens Redistricting Commission announces support of extending 2020 Census deadline

The newly formed Citizens Redistricting Commission (CRC) announced support of the 2020 Census Deadline Extensions Act (bill H.R. 8250, S. 4571) which was introduced by Congressman Don Young (R-AK) and Congressman Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), alongside Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Brian Schatz (D-HI) in mid-September.

These bills prohibit the bureau from concluding the Nonresponse Follow up operation or the Self-Response operation before October 31, 2020, from the Sept. 30 end date implemented in July. The bill also allows the U.S. Census Bureau more time to finish data collection and processing, in turn leading to a more thorough and accurate count.

The Commission sent letters of support to Congressman Young, Congressman Gallego, Senator Murkowski and Senator Schatz on Sept. 30, citing concerns that the early end to data collection will impact the quality of the Census data, which the CRC will utilize to draw new California Congressional and State legislative districts. A premature end to Census counting will force the Commission, and similar entities across the country, to rely on potentially inaccurate and incomplete data to guide the redistricting processes.

The CRC strongly urged allowing more time to ensure that hard-to-reach communities such as linguistic minorities and rural Americans, who may be disproportionately undercounted by the truncated deadline, are fully counted. The CRC cited complications due to COVID-19 and recent wildfires in California as additional considerations for the extended deadline. An accurate count of the population serves as the basis for fair political representation, and the CRC relies on this data to draw the district lines in conformity with strict, nonpartisan rules designed to create districts of relatively equal population that will provide fair representation for all Californians.

The letters have been posted to the WeDrawtheLines.ca.gov site here.

The article above was released by the California Citizens Redistricting Commission.