Judge rules to move 2020 census deadline back to Oct. 31

Minneapolis leaders are applauding a federal judge's ruling to move the U.S. Census Bureau's enumeration deadline back to Oct. 31. This comes after the Trump administration shortened the schedule and ordered the counting process to be completed by the end of September.

Late Thursday, U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh ruled in favor of attorneys for civil rights organizations and local governments that sued the U.S. Census Bureau. They had argued that the shortened schedule could led to an undercount, especially of minority groups.

"An undercount in any locality matters greatly. Even a small undercount of a subset of the hard to count population would result in the loss of federal funding," Koh wrote in the decision. "These harms and others will last through 2030, if not later."

In Minnesota, an undercount count lead to the loss of a congressional seat. The Census also helps determine the distribution of federal funding.

Under the ruling, census workers will be able to continue door knocking and follow-up efforts until Oct. 30. Minneapolis leaders, including Mayor Jacob Frey and City Council Vice President, agreed with the decision.

“The decision by the court to reinstate the Oct. 31 census deadline is a victory for the people,” said Jenkins in a statement. “The extended timeline gives us an opportunity to ensure our most vulnerable community members are included in the 2020 census count. We all count, and today's decision moves us one step closer to ensuring we all are counted.”  

Before the pandemic, the census was scheduled to be completed in July, but in response the deadline was extended to Oct. 31. However, in August, the bureau announced the counting process must be completed by Sept. 30 in order to meet the Dec. 31 deadline for statistical analysis. Koh's preliminary injunction also suspended the Dec. 31 deadline, which will allow the statisticians work on the numbers from November through April.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.