A lawsuit filed by advocacy groups and local governments on Tuesday alleges that census takers were pressured to falsify data so that the U.S. Census Bureau could claim it had reached 99.9% of households when the survey ended two weeks ago.
Some census supervisors pressured census workers to fill in as many questionnaires as possible, The Associated Press reported, with many resorting to guessing how many people lived in a home, falsely claiming that neighborhoods were too dangerous to visit or that people had refused to answer questions when workers went door-knocking, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit, filed in San Jose by the National Urban League, claims that this was done in order to end the census early and have the numbers processed while Trump is still in office. The AP notes that this would allow the Trump administration to exclude undocumented immigrants when congressional seats are portioned out, to enforce a presidential order.
The AP reported that federal courts in both New York and California have ruled the president’s order as unlawful and unconstitutional.
The Supreme Court allowed Trump to end the census early with administration officials arguing that the earlier end date was needed in order to meet the end-of-year deadline to report results to the White House. In light of the coronavirus pandemic this year, households were allowed to fill out the census online.
In her dissent, Justice Sonia SotomayorSonia SotomayorThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Altria - Jan. 6 panel flexes its muscle Sotomayor says recent changes were made because male justices interrupted female colleagues Why Latinos need Supreme Court reform MORE wrote that "the harms caused by rushing this year’s census count are irreparable."
The lawsuit also claimed that the Census Bureau used alternative methods of counting households including using IRS records, interviewing neighbors and landlords and getting a headcount instead of learning the race, gender, age and relation to each other.