Anomalies found in the data jeopardize the inventory deadline

Anomalies found in the data jeopardize the inventory deadline

The director of the Census Bureau said Thursday that irregularities were detected during the 2020 census, a development that jeopardizes the statistical service’s ability to meet a year-end deadline for delivering numbers used to distribute congressional seats. .

The Census Bureau was already facing an abbreviated two-and-a-half-month schedule for processing the data collected during the 2020 census – about half the time originally scheduled. The Census Bureau would not say on Thursday what the irregularities were or would publicly state whether there would be a new deadline for distribution numbers.

“These types of anomaly processing have occurred in previous censuses,” Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham said in a statement. “I urge the Census Bureau to use all available resources to resolve it as soon as possible. As it has progressed, our goal remains an accurate and statistically correct inventory. “

The Census Bureau said it would not comment further.

“This does not surprise me at all,” the president-elect of the American Statistical Association, Robert Santos, said in an email. “The notion that 2020 census data could be processed in half the scheduled time, given all the obstacles and challenges faced by the Census Bureau, defies logic.”

These challenges included a pandemic, wildfires in the West, and hurricanes along the Gulf Coast.

The December 31 deadline for registering distribution numbers would be a blow to President Donald Trump’s efforts to prevent people in the country from illegally counting the numbers used to determine how many congressional seats each state receives and how 1.5 trillion. dollars in federal costs are allocated.

Once the chairperson has received the figures by 31 December, the chairperson has about a week from the start of the next session to forward them to Parliament. If the Census Bureau is late in divesting the allocation numbers due to processing problems, this transfer could take place after President-elect Joe Biden takes office.

Trump’s distribution order was deemed illegal by three courts – in New York, California and Maryland. The Ministry of Justice has appealed to the Supreme Court, which is hearing arguments later this month.

The Parliamentary Monitoring and Reform Committee, which oversees the Census Bureau, was not notified of the irregularities before they were made public, said Carolyn Maloney, a New York Democrat who chairs the committee.

Maloney asked the office for information about anomalies, data accuracy, and possible delays in the program.

Due to the pandemic, the Census Bureau changed its deadline to complete the annual number of each U.S. resident each year from late July to late October. It also extended the deadline for changing distribution numbers from late December to late April, giving statistics offices five months to reduce the numbers.

However, in late July and early August, Commerce Department officials overseeing the Census Bureau announced that on-site operations would be completed by the end of September and distribution numbers would remain within the deadline set by Congress on December 31.

A coalition of local governments and advocacy groups have sued, arguing that an abbreviated timetable would reduce minorities and communities. Their lawsuit also alleges that the schedule was shortened to make sure the numbers took place in the Trump administration’s clock so that the president’s distribution order could be implemented.

Jeffrey Weiss, an associate professor at New York Law School who specializes in census law and the district, said he would not be surprised if the president, in recent weeks, takes over as politically appointed bureaucrat. does what Trump wants him to do. “

Last year, the Trump administration appointed some politicians to the Census Bureau leadership team, drawing strong criticism from Democratic leaders on a House oversight committee and questions about their recruitment by the Commerce Department inspector general.

“This is completely unpredictable,” said Weiss, who has worked with the National Democratic Party on remote areas.

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Follow Mike Schneider on Twitter at https://twitter.com/MikeSchneiderAP.

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