Today, 15 Republican governors, led by Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, issued a joint letter urging the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Secretary Gina Raimondo, to release the 2020 Census redistricting data as soon as possible. The Governors highlight how the nearly half a year delay in the release of data leaves their states unable to redraw district lines prior to the 2022 election cycle.
While Republican governors, state and local leaders fulfilled their duty to help ensure a complete Census, the delay in release of the data from the Biden administration will have a significant detrimental effect on the ability to draw accurate district lines for the U.S. House of Representatives.
Signatories to the letter include Governors Asa Hutchinson (AR), Kay Ivey (AL), Doug Ducey (AZ), Ron DeSantis (FL), Brian Kemp (GA), Kim Reynolds (IA), Mike Parson (MO), Greg Gianforte (MT), Pete Ricketts (NE), Doug Burgum (ND), Mike DeWine (OH), Henry McMaster (SC), Bill Lee (TN,), Greg Abbott (TX), and Mark Gordon (WY).Portions of the letter included below:
“Over the course of the past year, states and commonwealths played an integral part in ensuring the 2020 Census achieved a complete and accurate count of persons living in the United States on April 1, 2020. States and commonwealths have worked in conjunction with the U.S. Census Bureau (the Bureau) to inform Americans of the importance of the 2020 Census and encourage them to complete their questionnaires. In addition, our state and local complete count committees walked alongside the Bureau to ensure local communities were engaged, and while the COVID-19 pandemic led to the cancellation of many planned events, our complete count committees adjusted and leveraged their online presence to achieve a complete count.
States aided the Bureau within the Bureau’s fluctuating timelines for self-response and non-response follow-up (NERFU) in good faith. Yet, we are now facing a nearly half-year delay beyond the statutory deadline for receiving redistricting data. This delay places an unreasonable burden on our states and undermines public trust in the foundations of our democratic republic.”
“Districts for the U.S. House of Representatives cannot be drawn until the data has been released. Districts for state legislatures also cannot be drawn until this data has been released. Districts for county, parish, township, and municipal governing bodies cannot be drawn until states have had the opportunity to draw congressional and state legislative districts. Lastly, districts for school district seats cannot be drawn until county, parish, township, and municipal governing bodies have had the opportunity to draw their own respective districts.
As a result of such negative impacts to our constitutional responsibilities, we seek the release of redistricting data as soon as possible—and in line with traditional timelines—so that states may begin to perform important redistricting tasks on behalf of our constituents.”
View the signed letter here.