Virginia congressional delegation urges Secretary Ross to give Virginia priority on redistricting data

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The Virginia congressional delegation is asking Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to give Virginia priority on releasing redistricting data.

“We request that the Department of Commerce and the Census Bureau work directly with Virginia and prioritize delivery of redistricting data to Virginia so the Commonwealth can complete the redistricting process on a timeline that allows new districts to be drawn for the 2021 primary elections,” the members wrote in a letter to Ross sent on Monday.

On April 13, the Trump administration announced that, as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, it plans to delay all Census field operations until June 1, 2020, and plans to complete the count on Oct. 31, 2020 – a delay of about three months. Additionally, the administration is seeking legislation from Congress to delay current statutory deadlines by four months:

The administration seeks to delay the deadline to deliver apportionment counts to the President from Dec. 31, 2020, to April 30, 2021, and to delay the deadline to deliver redistricting data to the states from March 31, 2021, to July 31, 2021.

“If the Administration’s request is enacted by Congress and the Administration does not take steps to expedite population data for Virginia, the Commonwealth will face significant challenges as a result of delayed redistricting data,” the members added. “Virginia currently has primary elections scheduled for June 8, 2021. If redistricting data is not delivered until July 31, 2021, Virginia will be unable to complete the redistricting process in time even to hold delayed primaries before the November 2, 2021 general elections. We seek your assurance that the Census Bureau will continue to produce those data on a rolling basis and will work with Virginia on its redistricting process.”

The full letter follows and is available here.


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