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Ross asked if ending the census earlier in Trump’s current tenure would yield numbers



Ross wrote in an email to several senior officials at the Census Bureau that he appreciated their “excellent briefing this afternoon,” in which they informed him that ending the October 5th census would mean up to 10 states would die Would not reach standard for a full count.

But instead of asking about the consequences of an incomplete count, Ross asked about the consequences if counting can continue.

The email was released late Tuesday as part of a lawsuit over the Trump administration’s efforts to end the census early.

The exchange comes when the National Urban League and other groups suing Ross accused him of attempting to end the census early so that the numbers could be produced during Trump̵

7;s tenure. They say this could allow the government to exclude undocumented immigrants from the census used to split the seats in Congress – something a government under Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden might not do if it won the election and the numbers would instead be determined under his observation.

Prosecutors have dismissed this lawsuit as being outside the scope of this controversy.

“As I prepare for the decision, I want to make sure I understand correctly that your team’s opinion is that if we stay in the field beyond October 5th, we will not be able to meet the legal deadline of December 31st . ” Ross wrote.

Ron Jarmin, the senior career officer at the Census Bureau, responded that completing the census by October 5th would allow for December 31st compliance.

Officials had come forward with the prediction that the end of the 2020 census, which will be counted early, at a meeting on Monday afternoon will leave an incomplete record of up to 10 states. This emerges from internal documents released by the Commerce Department and the Census Bureau on Tuesday.

The states that may not finish are Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

Getting all 50 states to the Census Bureau’s goal of counting 99% of households could take until October 11, officials from the bureau told Ross.

“Even for states with a graduation rate of over 99%, there will be sub-states that are significantly below 99% due to COVID-19 restrictions, especially tribal areas,” the presentation said.

They also told Ross that ending the nationwide census on October 5 would be the last possible hope of cracking the numbers by the end of this year, which Ross had asked them to do.

Within hours of this presentation, Ross decided on October 5th, internal documents show.

Uncertainty about how much time is left to count the country’s population and knock on the doors of households that have not yet responded has created an unprecedented level of chaos in the last few weeks of counting.
Federal law set the December 31 deadline to compile the census used to split the seats in Congress. However, Census Bureau officials have said for months that the date cannot be reached while an accurate census of the country’s population is being made.

She and the Trump administration had asked Congress for an extension because of the coronavirus pandemic, which would include accepting responses by October 31.

The government then withdrew that motion around the same time President Donald Trump announced in late July that he would attempt to exclude undocumented immigrants from the final figures. The Census Bureau official who oversaw the field workers wrote at the time: “Any thinking person who would think we could make a split by December 31st has either a mental deficiency or a political motivation.”
In early August, Ross decided the census would be considered complete by the end of September. A federal court blocked the entry into force of this end date, but did not specifically reinstate the October 31 deadline.

The federal judge overseeing the trial has considered making the December 31st date unconstitutional.

This story and headline has been updated with new developments on the decision of Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross.

CNN’s Caroline Kelly contributed to this report.


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