Now, it's ending two weeks early. The Trump administration has appealed to the Supreme Court.
The Montana Department of Commerce and the State Complete Count Committee are urging every Montanan to respond to the 2020 Census before the end of the day on Thursday, October 15.
At issue was a request by the Trump administration that the Supreme Court suspend a lower court's order extending the 2020 census through the end of October following delays caused by the pandemic.
Thursday's deadline came after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Trump administration, which had argued the census needed to end immediately in order for the Census Bureau to have enough time to process the data to meet a congressionally mandated December 31 deadline for turning in apportionment numbers. Congress requires the bureau to turn in by December 31 the figures used to decide the states' congressional seats - a process known as apportionment.
By sticking to the December 31 deadline, the Trump administration would end up controlling the numbers used for apportionment, no matter who wins next month's presidential election. The Trump administration moved for that deadline to be put back to September 30, however many national groups pushed back, suing in federal court.
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The Supreme Court's order was a loss for municipalities including Los Angeles, the counties that include Houston and Seattle, and civil rights groups including the National Urban League that sued seeking to get the later deadline reinstated.
"It's short-sighted and ignores piles of evidence ... that they're not able to reach the people they need to reach", said William Frey, a research professor with the Population Studies Center at the University of MI and senior fellow at The Brookings Institution.
The census is critical to how voting districts are determined. She told Texas Standard that the Census Bureau previously said it needed until the end of October to complete an accurate count, due in part to COVID-19.
Census Bureau announces end to population... Since it didn't, the court ruled that the count must end in order for the deadlines to be met. "You need to be counted now, or the City of Bayonne could miss out on millions of dollars during the next ten years".
Failing to count every person in Central Ohio will have consequences for how much money the area receives from the federal government - as well as potentially affect the apportionment of state legislature and U.S. House seats.