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Census Count Must Continue Until End Of October, Federal Judge Rules

The shortened schedule, previously slated to end next week, would impact political representation and the distribution of federal funding, the judge said. The Trump administration appealed the ruling.

Illinois Coalition of Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR), along with community partners Enlace and Taller de Jose, took to the streets of Little Village promote Census Day.
Brandon Lee/ ICIRR
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CHICAGO — With less than a week before the census deadline, a California federal judge ordered the Trump administration to extend the census count until the end of October.

On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh issued a preliminary injunction requiring the Census Bureau to continue the count until Oct. 31, according to the New York Times. The Trump administration has appealed the ruling, NPR reports.

The National Urban League, other civil rights groups and the cities of Chicago and Los Angeles sued the government, saying the schedule would likely produce inaccurate numbers of hard-to-count communities.

Koh agreed.

In the decision, Koh said the shortened schedule would impact political representation and the distribution of federal funding.

Census participation helps determine federal funding for critical services including education, child care, workforce training and health care. 

Koh’s ruling comes after the federal government has shifted the timeline for reporting the count.  In April, the census deadline was extended until Oct. 31 because of the coronavirus pandemic. But in August, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross shortened the previous timeline to Sept. 30.

The changing timelines have sent groups scrambling to get people counted.

Across the country, census counts are lagging behind as the deadline approaches.  In 2010, nearly 66 percent of Chicagoans took part in the 2010 Census.  Currently, just under 60 percent of Chicagoans have filled out the census, according to Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

The state risks losing $195 million per year for each 1 percent of the population undercounted.

Illinois could also lose two congressional seats to census-based redistricting.

Earlier this week, Lightfoot urged Chicagoans to fill out the census in order to get federal funding for parks, schools and infrastructure projects.

“Everyone benefits when we are counted and we get our fair share of resources from the federal government,” she said.

The census can be filled out online or over the phone by calling 844-330-2020. 

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