By Diana Jordan
The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that detailed data from the 2020 decennial census (aka P.L. 94-171 redistricting file, aka “the redistricting data”) will arrive at 1 p.m. ET Aug. 12. This comes as surprising news as the U.S. Census Bureau had promised it by Aug. 16.
Turns out, the operative word was “by.” Redistricters will be pleased to get the data four days earlier.
While this early release has come as a surprise, the data will still be late, compared to the original due date of April 1. That wasn’t possible, given COVID-19 and many natural disasters.
From that perspective, this release is over four months behind schedule. The delay—even though shortened—have proved challenging for states’ abilities to comply with their own redistricting deadlines.
So, what does this redistricting data release mean for states? It means the ball is dropped into play on redistricting. With tight timelines, the race to get congressional and legislative lines drawn is on! From here on, election administrators will be looking to redistricters to complete their work, so states can be prepared for candidate filing periods and for 2022 primaries.
Learn more through NCSL’s FAQs on the census and the state’s redistricting deadlines.
Diana Jordan is an intern in NCSL's Redistricting and Elections Program.