Ross wrote in an email to several senior Census Bureau officials that he appreciated their “excellent briefing this afternoon,” where they informed him that ending the census on October 5 would mean that up to 10 states would not meet the standard. for a complete count.
But instead of asking about the consequences of an incomplete count, Ross asked about the consequences of allowing the count to continue.
The email was released on Tuesday at the end of a lawsuit against the Trump administration’s efforts to end the census earlier than expected.
The exchange comes when the National Urban League and other groups that have sued Ross accused him of attempting to end the census early so that the numbers are produced during Trump̵
Government lawyers dismissed that claim as outside the scope of this scheduling dispute.
“As I prepare to make the decision, I would like to make sure I understand correctly that your team’s opinion is that if we stay on the pitch beyond 5 October, we will not be able to meet the legal deadline of December 31,” Ross wrote. .
Ron Jarmin, the highest career official at the Census Bureau, replied that finishing the count by October 5 would allow for the December 31 date to be respected.
States that may not be completed are Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, and South Carolina.
Bringing all 50 states to the Census Bureau’s goal of counting 99 percent of households could take until October 11, office officials told Ross.
“Even for states with completion rates above 99 percent, there will be sub-state areas that are substantially below 99 percent, particularly tribal areas due to COVID-19 restrictions,” the presentation said.
They also told Ross that ending the national tally on October 5 was the last possible hope for munching the numbers by the end of this year, which Ross had asked them to do.
Within hours of that presentation, Ross set the October 5th date, internal documents show.
They and the Trump administration had asked Congress for an extension due to the coronavirus pandemic which would have included accepting responses until October 31.
The federal judge in charge of the proceedings has planned to declare the date of December 31st unconstitutional.
This story and title have been updated with new developments on Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’s decision.
CNN’s Caroline Kelly contributed to this report.