Following an emergency request last week by the Trump administration, the Supreme Court ruled yesterday to expedite the deadline for the 2020 census.
According to the Census Bureau, data collection will end on October 15. It broke down response-type deadlines as follows:
- Mail-in/paper responses must be postmarked by October 15 (Post offices typically close at 5p.m.)
- Phone responses will continue through the end of day on October 15. Services run 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. EST to speak with an English or Spanish representative. Non-English and Non-Spanish representatives are available 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. EST.
- Internet response will be available across the U.S. until 11:59 p.m. Hawaii Standard Time (meaning until 5:59 a.m. EST, October 16)
A threat to democracy
In her 7-page dissent of the ruling, Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote that “meeting the deadline at the expense of the accuracy of the census is not a cost worth paying.” She later concluded that “the harms caused by rushing this year’s census count are irreparable. And respondents will suffer their lasting impact for at least the next 10 years.”
A recent deadline had data collection set to end on October 31. The 2020 census has seen a lot of back and forth due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the Trump administration’s push to end the census count. On top of that, President Donald Trump announced he want to exclude undocumented immigrants, adding uncertainty to the process. However, a 3-judge panel found this unlawful.
The approval to end the 2020 census so suddenly threatens federal funding for vulnerable communities and can lead to an inaccurate apportionment of political representation.
“The Supreme Court’s decision to enable the president’s shameful campaign to curtail the census is regrettable and disappointing,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement. “The President’s attack on the census count and his refusal to provide time beyond December 31 for submission of the census report clearly violate the constitutional mandate enshrined by our founders for a fair and accurate census.”