Legislation seeks to move Census deadline back to end of October

A woman in a green jacket and a blue and white shoulder bag knocks at a door
A census worker knocks on a door in Dillingham. Wednesday, September 2, 2020. (Isabelle Ross/KDLG)

Alaska Representative Don Young introduced legislation that would restore the Census deadline to October 31.

Young introduced the bipartisan and bicameral legislation – 2020 Census Deadline Extensions Act, or H.R. 8250 – with Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Arizona), alongside Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii).

Young said in a news release that if census-takers are unable to provide a thorough and accurate census count in Alaska, then: “Billions in federal funding will be left on the table over the next decade. We must extend the Census deadline.

The release goes on to say, “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.” 

In early August, the Census Bureau announced it would move up the census deadline up to the end of September out of concerns for the coronavirus. But various advocacy and Indigenous groups decried the decision, saying it would lead to a drastic undercounting of people.

Then on September 5, a federal judge in California issued an injunction, ordering the Census Bureau to stop winding down its operations until a hearing on a preliminary injunction on Thursday, September 17.

Two days after the judge’s decision, the Census Bureau began halting the layoffs of door-to-door census takers.