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Ohio sued the US 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.
US 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.