ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — A federal judge has stopped the 2020 census from finishing at the end of September and ordered the once-a-decade head count of every U.S. resident extended for another month through the end of October.
U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh said in her ruling late Thursday that a shortened schedule would likely produce inaccurate results.
A coalition of civil rights groups and local governments had sued the Census Bureau in an effort to prevent the 2020 census from stopping at the end of the month.
They said the shortened schedule would undercount residents in minority and hard-to-count communities.
Koh said inaccuracies produced from a shortened schedule would affect the distribution of federal funding and political representation. The census is used to determine how $1.5 trillion in federal spending is distributed each year and how many congressional seats each state gets.
Government attorneys had argued that the census must finish by the end of September to meet a Dec. 31 deadline for turning over numbers used for deciding how many congressional seats each state gets.
Koh’s preliminary injunction suspends that end-of-the-year deadline, too.
The San Jose, California-based judge had previously issued a temporary restraining order prohibiting the Census Bureau from winding down field operations until she made a ruling in the lawsuit.