Cutting off Census deadline early unfair to all

Giving Americans a month less to respond to the 2020 Census may be the most ridiculous proposal to come out of Washington this year. The idea should be discarded.

Original plans for the Census called for an Oct. 31 deadline for people to respond to it with information about themselves and their families. But Census Bureau officials reportedly want to change that to Sept. 30.

During this, of all years, people ought to be given more time to comply with government mandates, not less. There is no doubt that the COVID-19 epidemic has slowed collection of Census data. Moving the deadline would result in an even more incomplete report than in normal Census years.

That would be highly detrimental to states such as North Dakota, where the percentage of people who have responded to the Census is at this time 10 years ago. In other words, North Dakota needs more time to get an accurate count.

Changing the deadline would not serve Native Americans well, either. Their response rate is much lower than the rest of the state.

Statistics gathered in the Census are used for a variety of purposes, including determination of how many state legislators are allocated.

In addition, many federal funding programs rely on Census numbers. Fewer people counted means less money from Washington.

Cutting off responses a month early would be unfair to all Americans — including those in areas such as ours. The idea should be rejected.


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