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
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.
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.
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 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.