ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — A federal judge has ordered the U.S. Census Bureau for the time being to stop following a plan that would have had it winding down operations in order to finish the 2020 census at the end of September.
The federal judge in San Jose, California, issued a temporary restraining order late Saturday against the Census Bureau and the Commerce Department, which oversees the agency.
The order stops the Census Bureau from winding down operations until a court hearing is held on Sept. 17.
The head count of every U.S. resident every ten years helps determine how $1.5 trillion in federal funding is distributed and how many congressional seats each state gets.
Those who have not filled out the paper census yet can fill it out online by going to the official census 2020 website.
The temporary restraining order was requested by a coalition of cities, counties and civil rights groups that had sued the Census Bureau, demanding it restore its previous plan for finishing the census at the end of October, instead of using a revised plan to end operations at the end of September.
The coalition had argued the earlier deadline would cause the Census Bureau to overlook minority communities in the census, leading to an inaccurate count.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Census Bureau pushed back ending the count from the end of July to the end of October and asked Congress to extend the deadline for turning in the apportionment numbers from December, as required by law, into next spring.
When the Republican-controlled Senate failed to take up the request, the bureau was forced to create a revised schedule that had the census ending in September, according to the statistical agency.