Skip to content

Schatz, Murkowski Reintroduce Bill To Extend Key Deadlines For 2020 Census, Ensure Accurate Count

Bipartisan Bill Will Extend Two Deadlines For Census Bureau To Report Data To Account For Delays Caused By Pandemic

WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Senators Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) reintroduced legislation to extend two key statutory deadlines for the 2020 Census. The bipartisan bill will set the deadline for the apportionment data to April 30, 2021, as well as extend the deadline to deliver redistricting data to the states to September 30, 2021.

These extensions would allow the Census Bureau to continue processing data after the COVID-19 pandemic caused delays to normal census operations. Without extending these statutory deadlines, the Bureau may not be able to ensure an accurate count of the population, specifically of Native, minority, and rural communities across the country.

“The Census Bureau should take all the time it needs to report its data and make sure every person is counted as mandated by the Constitution,” said Senator Schatz. “Our bill would extend these statutory deadlines and ensure that we get a fair, accurate count.”

“A complete and fair census count is a fundamental cornerstone of our representative democracy. Accurate representation of our nation’s population informs federal funding allotments for infrastructure and services, such as hospitals and schools, while providing important information that guides decisions for the next decade. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on the Census Bureau’s timeframes needed to process the data. By extending the statutory deadlines we will better ensure that the United States has the most accurate census count possible,” said Senator Murkowski.

In September, Senators Schatz and Murkowski first introduced the 2020 Census Deadline Extensions Act following a request from the Commerce Secretary and Census Bureau Director to extend the deadlines for apportionment and redistricting, citing the pandemic delaying census operations.

A broad group of organizations have endorsed the legislation, including the National Association of Counties, National League of Cities, National Organization of Black County Officials, Council of Professional Associations on Federal Statistics, Population Association of America, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, National Congress of American Indians, NALEO Educational Fund, National Action Network, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC, MALDEF, and Nielsen. A full list of endorsements can be found here.

Companion legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives by U.S. Representatives Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), Jimmy Gomez (D-Calif.), Gerald Connolly (D-Va.), Don Young (R-Alaska), and Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.).