The 2020 census data needed for the redrawing of voting districts around the country are extremely delayed and now expected by Sept. 30. […]
Then, in a statement, the bureau said the timing shift allows it to “deliver complete and accurate redistricting data in a more timely fashion overall for the states,” which are expected to receive the information at the same time rather than on a rolling basis as after past head counts.
Dogged by the coronavirus pandemic and the Trump administration’s interference with the census schedule, the latest expected release date — six months past the March 31 legal deadline — could throw upcoming elections into chaos in states facing tight redistricting deadlines for Congress, as well as state and local offices.
In a press briefing Friday, James Whitehorne, the head of the bureau’s redistricting office, said that if the agency completes its quality reviews earlier than expected, it would release the redistricting data earlier. But Whitehorne also said: “We don’t anticipate finishing much before Sept. 30.”
* Wisconsin Examiner…
The Census Bureau was scheduled to detail by the end of December 2020 how many congressional seats will go to each state. That announcement is six weeks late, and now isn’t expected until late April of this year.
So, while there’s time to draw congressional districts before candidate filing begins in late August, there will be no time to draw state legislative districts. Looks like a delay in the primary could be in the cards, although some sort of temporary workaround will have to be constructed to deal with the state constitution’s June 30th deadline to draw state legislative maps.
Jim Lewis, a senior researcher at the University of Illinois at Chicago who oversaw remap work at the Chicago Urban League on behalf of Black communities in the 1990s, said he’d be “surprised if leadership allowed the process to go to the commission.” A new map could be made with other census data, including from the American Community Survey. But that map could be “legally contested once the new block-level data is released in the fall.”
John Patterson, spokesperson for Illinois Senate President Don Harmon, said “we continue to monitor the situation.”
A spokesman for Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch said the delay in the data is a “unique situation,” and the new House leader is “still assessing all options, but his goal remains making sure all communities get their due representation in Congress.” […]
At an unrelated news conference Friday, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said his office is looking at how the state might “manage through that” delay.
“It’s obviously extraordinarily difficult,” the governor said. “It’s one thing when they said April, it’s another thing when they said September. It really creates a challenge for us all, but we’ll get through it, we’ll deal with it like we have all the other changes through COVID-19.”
* NCSL: Searching for Silver Linings in Delayed Census Results
* NCSL: 5 Ways to Handle Census Delays and Redistricting Deadlines