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Census Bureau set to miss Dec. 31 deadline for the 1st time

The Census Bureau is officially set to miss its Dec. 31 deadline for the first time ever.

On Wednesday, the Census Bureau said it will deliver a “complete and accurate state population count for apportionment in early 2021, as close to” the deadline of Dec. 31 “as possible.” This will be the first time that the Dec. 31 deadline will be missed since Congress implemented it over four decades ago, The Associated Press reports.

“The delay suggests that the Census Bureau needs more time to ensure the accuracy of census numbers for all states,” former congressional staffer Terri Ann Lowenthal explained to AP.

The Census Bureau faced issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic and had to suspend field operations earlier this year. Now, CNN writes the “key question” is whether the Census Bureau will deliver the tally before President Trump leaves office, as he has sought to exclude undocumented immigrants from the count used to allocate seats in Congress. The Supreme Court earlier this month blocked a challenge of this plan by Trump.

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But “if the numbers are produced after Trump leaves office,” CNN notes, “President-elect Joe Biden is not expected to exclude undocumented immigrants from the count.” According to AP, internal documents previously showed that officials didn’t expect the numbers would be ready until after Biden’s inauguration.