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Ohio sues U.S. Census Bureau over delay in population data

Reuters logo Reuters 2/26/2021
calendar: FILE PHOTO: A sign is seen during a promotional event for the U.S. Census in Times Square in New York © Reuters/BRENDAN MCDERMID FILE PHOTO: A sign is seen during a promotional event for the U.S. Census in Times Square in New York

(Reuters) - Ohio sued the U.S. Census Bureau on Thursday in federal court in an attempt to compel the bureau to release population data relevant to the state's upcoming congressional redistricting process.

"The federal government has chosen to drag its feet by delaying the release of census data instead of following the law," Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said in a statement.

"The people of Ohio have found ways to meet their responsibilities throughout the COVID-19 pandemic - adapting how we run businesses, caring for loved ones, home schooling children - why should the government create a double standard?"

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U.S. census data used once a decade to redraw legislative districts will not be made available until September, officials said earlier this month, a delay that could make it difficult for states to finish new maps in time for the 2022 congressional elections.

In announcing a new release date of Sept. 30, the Census Bureau cited lingering delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic, which forced the bureau to shut down many of its data collection operations last spring as lockdowns swept the country.

Ohio's lawsuit asked a federal judge to restore a Mar. 31 deadline for the Census Bureau to turn over 2020 census figures that are used for redrawing congressional and legislative districts, instead of the Sept. 30 deadline.

The bureau previously set a target of July, which was already months later than the data is typically provided to states.

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)


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