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Officials call SCOTUS ruling disappointing, urge residents to respond

Oct. 14, 2020
Redwood City – County of San Mateo officials today expressed disappointment in the Supreme Court’s ruling that allows the end of 2020 Census data collection and urged residents to continue responding until tomorrow’s final deadline.

“This could have grave consequences for the next decade. But, understanding what is at stake, San Mateo County had made historic investments and outreach efforts in making sure everyone is counted so we can receive our fair share of funding from and representation in Washington,” said Board of Supervisors President Warren Slocum.  

On Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an order that granted a stay of the trial court’s preliminary injunction in the case of Ross v. National Urban League, et al.  In that case, District Court Judge Lucy Koh had imposed an injunction that required the United States Census Bureau to follow the data collection plan that the agency had developed, and which provided for Census data collection activities through the end of October. 

Yesterday’s ruling stays Judge Koh’s order during the pendency of any further litigation in this case (i.e., it bars the enforcement of Judge Koh’s preliminary injunction order), which means that the Census Bureau is now free to end census data collection activities before the end of October, even though the Census Bureau has described the data collection plan providing for data collection activities through the end of  the month as being necessary to avoid risking significant impacts on data quality.

Slocum emphasized that the Supreme Court’s ruling could have serious consequences going forward and it validates the Board of Supervisors’ decision to invest significantly in ensuring an accurate and complete count of county residents with a particular focus on traditionally hard to count communities.

“The County will continue to stand up for the integrity of the census and support the ongoing litigation to ensure that everyone is counted in the apportionment process. We are proud of the work that has been completed in ensuring the most accurate count possible given these unusual times.  We are proud to continue to lead the state in self response rates at 78.4 percent,” said County Manager Mike Callagy.   

The Census Bureau has stated that the Census Self Response and field data collection operations for the 2020 Census will conclude on Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020.  The Census Bureau has provided the following guidance regarding the wind down of Census operations: 

Specifically:  

  • Internet self-response will be available across the nation through Oct. 15, 2020 until 11:59 p.m.  Visit 2020Census.gov to respond today.
  • Phone response will be available for its regularly scheduled time on Oct. 15, 2020. 
  • Paper responses must be postmarked by October 15, 2020.
  • Nonresponse Followup census takers will continue resolving nonresponding addresses through the end of the day on Oct. 15, 2020.