Oct 3, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Census Bureau says it will continue count through Oct. 31, per court order

Census workers stand outside Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City.
Census workers stand outside Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City. Photo: Noam Galai/Getty Images

The Census Bureau said Friday it will continue its count through Oct. 31 as ordered by a federal judge, and not the end of next week as it previously indicated.

Driving the news: The statement came one day after U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh said the Census Bureau, as well as the Department of Commerce violated her Sept. 24 injunction order "in several ways" and "a flood of emails to the Court and the parties suggests ongoing non-compliance in the field."

  • The Sept. 24 injunction said the Census Bureau could not end the census a month early.
  • Koh on Thursday ordered the bureau to text message all of its employees, "notifying them of the Court’s Injunction Order, stating that the October 5, 2020 'target date; is not operative, and stating that data collection operations will continue through October 31, 2020."
  • She also ordered Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham to file a declaration by Monday confirming that the agency was complying with the Sept. 24 order.
  • Koh threatened sanctions or contempt proceedings if the agency and its officials violated her order again.

What they're saying: In its statement on Friday, the Census Bureau said it sent the following statement to its its workers:

“As a result of court orders, the October 5, 2020 target date is not operative, and data collection operations will continue through October 31, 2020. Employees should continue to work diligently and enumerate as many people as possible. Contact your supervisor with any questions.”

Context: Koh's order on Thursday came after the Census Bureau tweeted that Wilber Ross, the Secretary of Commerce, "announced a target date of October 5, 2020 to conclude 2020 Census self-response and field data collection operations."

  • Koh said "the decision [to end the census early] also risks further undermining trust in the Bureau and its partners, sowing more confusion, and depressing Census participation."
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