Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Axios on your phone

Get breaking news and scoops on the go with the Axios app.

Download for free.

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A growing number of mayors are banding together to fight what they consider to be an inaccurate and abruptly curtailed 2020 census, using an arsenal of legal, legislative and congressional efforts.

Why it matters: The outcome may determine whether President Trump or Joe Biden controls the redistricting process, which governs everything from congressional representation and redistricting to funding for schools and Head Start.

Driving the news: Mayors from both parties — under the aegis of the U.S. Conference of Mayors — are putting on a full-court press to extend the Census Bureau's data collection work (which ended Oct. 15, per the president's order) and extend the data-processing work to next April.

  • They're backing a lawsuit filed by the National Urban League against Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross that sought the return to an Oct. 31 deadline for data collection.
  • So far it has gone up to the Supreme Court, which sided with the Trump administration and allowed the count to stop early — but the case still hasn't been heard on its merits.
  • But their efforts may be quixotic, as there's no precedent for a census count being reopened.

The mayors are also lobbying members of Congress to take up their cause, supporting bills to extend the census deadlines.

  • They're joining civic leaders and advocacy groups across the country who have filed other lawsuits against the Census Bureau.
  • The Supreme Court will hear arguments on Nov. 30 in New York's attempt to block President Trump from excluding unauthorized immigrants from Congressional redistricting calculations.

"It is more clear than ever that there is still an effort to interfere with an accurate count," said Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, adding that she saw political motives at work.

The big picture: The mayors' concern is that people of color, indigenous people, poor people, young people and undocumented immigrants will be even more undercounted than usual.

  • Many of those categories tend to be urban dwellers, so omitting them hurts city finances and representation. (People in rural areas tend to be undercounted, too.)
  • They say that census workers were stretched so thin they weren't able to knock on doors six times to seek a response, as they're normally supposed to.
  • And they're dismayed by the heavy reliance on a protocol that's new this year: the use of federal administrative records — from the IRS, Medicare, Medicaid, and the Social Security Administration — to fill in many blanks.

Where it stands: At a news conference Wednesday, Census Bureau officials described the many obstacles they faced this year — the pandemic, hurricanes and wildfires — but said they finished the 2020 census on Oct. 15 and will "deliver complete and accurate state population counts as close to the December 31, 2020 statutory deadline as possible."

  • Those counts — which typically take five months — will take two-and-a-half months this year.
  • Asked how the bureau could achieve this, Al Fontenot, associate director of Decennial Census Programs at the U.S. Census Bureau, said, "Technology has advanced over the past 10 years. Computers are faster, technology is faster, and a lot of the processes can happen faster."

The bottom line: The Census Bureau says it has accounted for 99.98% of all addresses in the nation.

  • But longtime census consultant Terri Ann Lowenthal draws air quotes around "accounted for." She notes that the bureau "didn't say counted. They didn't say enumerated. They said 'accounted for.' "
  • "The percent of housing units counted, by itself, tells us nothing about the quality and accuracy of the data collected or the overall accuracy of the census."

Go deeper

Guaranteed income programs are proliferating

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Cities around the country are starting up guaranteed income programs, which pay low-income residents around $300–$600 a month to help improve their lives.

Why it matters: If successful, backers hope these experiments — which bring the idea of guaranteed basic income from the progressive drawing board to reality — could set the stage for a day when unconditional cash stipends are a ubiquitous national safety net.

Australia opposes UN report warning Great Barrier Reef is "in danger"

A green sea turtle swimming among the corals at Lady Elliot island, off the coast of Queensland, Australia. Photo: Jonas Gratzer/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Great Barrier Reef should be included in a list of World Heritage Sites that are "in danger" from climate change, a United Nations committee said in a report Tuesday.

Yes, but: Australia's government said it will "strongly oppose" the recommendation by UNESCO's World Heritage Committee.

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema: Abolishing filibuster would weaken "democracy's guardrails"

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema at the U.S. Capitol building earlier this month. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) defended her opposition to abolishing the 60-vote legislative filibuster in a Washington Post op-ed published Monday night, saying to do so would weaken "democracy's guardrails."

Why it matters: There have been growing calls from Democrats, particularly progressives, to overhaul the rules as the Senate prepares to vote Tuesday on a massive voting rights package. But Sinema writes in her op-ed that if this were to happen "we will lose much more than we gain."