NY Attorney General joins fight against new Census deadline

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Two young children hold signs through the car window that make reference to the 2020 U.S. Census as they wait in the car with their family at an outreach event in Dallas on June 25, 2020. (AP / Tony Gutierrez)

NEW YORK (NEWS10) — Attorney General Letitia James announced on Tuesday that New York is leading a coalition of cities, counties, and states taking legal action against the federal government for its handling of the 2020 Census deadline.

The Census Bureau announced it would move up the deadline for questionnaires and door-to-door followups from October 31 to September 30. In response, the national coalition argues that the truncated timeline will affect the accuracy of the census.

“The Trump Administration’s efforts to reduce the time for the collection of census data is just the latest in a long list of efforts taken to undermine the census and manipulate the population count to the president’s liking,” said Attorney General James. “New York and numerous other states across the country are already falling behind in responding to the census as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and a multitude of other factors, so now is not the time to be decreasing response periods.”

As of Tuesday, New York is not suing the Trump Administration over the Census issue. Instead, New York and the coalition filed an amicus brief in a lawsuit filed by the National Urban League and the League of Women Voters. Amicus briefs are filed by non-litigants who have a strong interest in the case. They include relevant or additional information or arguments for the court to consider.

The plaintiffs in that suit have requested a stay or injunction to halt the change in schedule. The defendants there are the Department of Commerce and the Census Bureau—and their leaders, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur L. Ross, Jr. and Steven Dilligham, the Census Bureau’s director.

The Census directly affects representation in Congress, state redistricting efforts, and billions in federal funding to states and localities over the next decade. According to the Office of the Attorney General, “A district court previously found—in the litigation over the citizenship question—that even a small undercount would raise a ‘significant risk of an apportionment loss’ to New York and other similar states.”

The amicus brief was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, and it includes:

  • States:
    • California
    • Colorado
    • Connecticut
    • Delaware
    • Hawaii
    • Illinois
    • Massachusetts
    • Michigan
    • Minnesota
    • Nevada
    • New Jersey
    • New Mexico
    • North Carolina
    • Oregon
    • Pennsylvania
    • Rhode Island
    • Vermont
    • Virginia
    • Washington
    • Wisconsin
  • Cities
    • Central Falls, Rhode Island
    • Columbus, Ohio
    • Philadelphia
    • Pittsburgh
    • Washington, D.C.
  • Counties
    • Cameron County, Texas
    • El Paso County, Texas
    • Hidalgo County, Texas
    • Howard County, Maryland
  • The U.S. Conference of Mayors

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