Census delays screw up state plans for redistricting: AP

Census delays screw up state plans for redistricting: AP
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Some states are reportedly considering a postponement of redistricting for the 2022 primaries due to a continued delay in 2020 Census data.

Though the U.S. Census Bureau is meant to provide its redistricting data to states by the end of March, it now will not likely be ready until around August or September, the Associated Press reports.

The outlet notes that if data is released around Sep. 30, then the legal deadline to complete redistricting for many states will have passed, leaving almost no time for court challenges, candidate filing and ballot creations.

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These states may be forced to resort to other population estimates in order to complete the once-a-decade task. In Oregon, the state may instead use population estimates from Portland State University to draft new districts in time for the deadline and then later revise them through legal challenges after the 2020 census data is made available.

“States that have done the exact same thing for decades in a row now have to look for alternatives,” Wendy Underhill, director of elections and redistricting at the National Conference of State Legislatures, said.

The AP notes that although a growing number of states will be using bipartisan commissions to redistrict, Republicans still currently control redistricting in more than two times as many states as Democrats do. Republicans have been more successful in drawing districts that benefit their candidates than Democrats were following the 2010 census, the outlet notes.

A U.S. Census Bureau official had previously said that the data for apportionment would not be available until April.

Redistricting data will be available in August in a long-used but more complicated format. The full toolkit's release, DVDs, flash drives and the website data.census.gov are still planned for the end of September.