The U.S. Census is expected to officially conclude on October 31st, a week after the Trump administration defied a federal judge's ruling to comply with that date.
The U.S. Department of Commerce sought to complete the census count on September 30th, arguing that it would guarantee the first report on the tallies would be in President Donald Trump's hands by the December 31st, 2020 deadline.
But in another ruling on Thursday evening, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh -- who issued a preliminary injunction that forced the Commerce Department to revert back to the original deadline of October 31st -- clarified on behalf of plaintiffs that the count must continue through the end of October after finding the Commerce Department flouted the order. Koh learned this after Commerce Department Secretary Wilbur Ross sent a tweet to census employees after the ruling saying that the count will conclude on October 5th. In her order, Koh wrote Ross' actions were an "egregious violation."
Koh also ordered the Commerce Department to send another mass text message to census workers reminding them of the October 31st completion date.
"Democracy wins," Julie Menin, NYC Census 2020 Director, tweeted a day after the ruling. "The Census Bureau finally realized they cannot defy a federal judge's orders and undermine this foundation of our democracy. Self-response and door knocking in the 2020 Census will continue until October 31! Justice prevails!"
Notwithstanding the COVID-19 pandemic, the census count remains a major priority for New York City, which launched a $40 million effort to spread awareness of the count. The decennial count determines how much money municipalities receive while also influencing the contours of congressional lines. If a 100% count is achieved, the city stands to obtain $53 billion from a $1.5 trillion pot of money doled out by the federal government.
Emails to the Census Bureau, the Commerce Department, and the U.S. Department of Justice were not returned.