Young, Murkowski, Sullivan Introduce Bicameral, Bipartisan Bill to Ensure Fair and Accurate Census Count
Legislation Extends 2020 Census Completion Deadline
Congressman Don Young and U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan (all R-Alaska) introduced bicameral, bipartisan legislation, the 2020 Census Deadline Extensions Act, alongside Congressman Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) and U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) to provide for additional time to complete the 2020 Census. The bill extends the Census operations of nonresponse follow-up and self-response to October 31, 2020 as well as extends the Census statutory reporting deadlines for apportionment and redistricting. These extensions would allow the Census Bureau more time to finish the counting operations and data processing, as well as conduct quality assurance activities, leading to a more accurate count.
Click here for bill text.
“One of the most important things Alaskans can do to ensure that our state is treated fairly is to fill out the Census,” said Congressman Don Young. “Our constitutionally mandated Census only happens once a decade, and the COVID-19 pandemic has made this decade's Census data collection uniquely challenging. Let me be very clear: if Alaska's field staff are unable to finish a thorough and accurate Census, billions in federal funding will be left on the table over the next decade. We must extend the Census deadline. Alaskans deserve to have their roads, schools, recreation areas, and other public services fully funded; our field staff need more time to complete this critical task. I am proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation alongside Senators Murkowski and Schatz, and Congressman Gallego to ensure that the Census deadline is extended so that all Americans are empowered to succeed.”
“Obtaining an accurate Census count is always difficult. But now, with the added delays and difficulties caused by COVID-19, it’s become increasingly clear that more time is needed to ensure a fair and accurate census count. For an effort that happens once every ten years, with impacts that last for the next ten years, this is far too important to not get right. The Census determines how much federal funding our local communities will receive for services like schools, roads, and other public services—each vital to Alaska’s livelihood,” said Senator Murkowski. “This legislation is critically important, taking into account all the various challenges and hurdles that have occurred during this year’s Census, and providing the extensions necessary to have a complete 2020 Census.”
“An accurate population count in Alaska is notoriously difficult given our many diverse and remote communities, and the coronavirus pandemic has only served to exacerbate this challenge,” said Senator Sullivan. “In Alaska, we are already witnessing the lowest self-response rates in the country. The impact of this Census will be felt for the next ten years, and we simply cannot afford an undercount. Pushing back the deadline is the appropriate response to make sure this Census is accurate and successful.”
On September 1, the Alaska Congressional Delegation made a push for Alaskans to do their part and participate in the 2020 Census as the current deadline approaches.
In August, U.S. Senators Murkowski and Sullivan joined a bipartisan group of senators calling on House and Senate leadership to extend the statutory deadlines for the delivery of apportionment data and redistricting files following the 2020 Census.
Also in August, Congressman Don Young sent a letter to Census Bureau Director Dr. Steven Dillingham, urging him to reverse plans to move up the field data collection deadline to September 30 from its original date of October 31.