What the League of Women Voters Wants You to Know About COVID-19, the Census, and Redistricting

As we prepare for redistricting in 2021, our work to fight for and protect People Powered Fair Maps is more important than ever. We encourage everyone to find ways to support fair maps in their communities and one of the easiest first steps is by completing the 2020 Census. The census count has a direct impact on the redistricting process. Numbers from the count are used to determine how many individuals belong to each district and ultimately how district lines are drawn.

BUT it’s important to emphasize that none of the operating timeline shifts affect the way people are self-responding and getting their households counted! Answering the census is easy! Every household can respond to the census right now through one of three ways: via phone, internet, or paper form.

Understandably, COVID-19 has had a huge impact on the way that the Census conducts operations. Originally, the Census Bureau planned to cease collecting data on August 31, 2020, but because of COVID-19, data collection will now extend until October 31, 2020.

But what does this mean for states and redistricting?

This extension to the census collection will result in delayed delivery of data to the states. That means many states will have to move the timeline of their map drawing. A shortened time-frame could shorten the window for public comments, hearings, and testimony during the map-drawing process which is especially detrimental to protecting communities of interest and maintaining transparency in the redistricting process.

It will be up to concerned citizens in every state to make sure that we are building People Powered Fair Maps for every congressional, state, and local district in the country.

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