New York State Sen. Joseph A. Griffo, R-I-C-Rome, is calling on federal leaders to extend the counting phase of the U.S. Census in light of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a letter to U.S. Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham, Sen. Griffo urges the agency to extend the time period for the collection of information through the first half of 2021, which would give the agency time to conduct a thorough and accurate account while still maintaining its time frame for the reporting of this information.

“There is no way to overestimate the incredible hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. From the tragic loss of life, to the scores left jobless by shutdowns to spare countless additional deaths. The pain has not been limited to any specific area of the country with virtually all states, from urban centers to rural communities, hard hit by the devastation,” Sen. Griffo’s letter to Dillingham states. “These impacts have led to delays and in some areas decline in responses to the U.S. Census Bureau. While I applaud you and your department’s incredible efforts to try to continue your monumental task of ensuring every American is counted, the pandemic and its far-reaching impacts have made this job impractical if not impossible to complete within the deadline established for this phase of data collection. Even with an extension recently announced, I implore you and the U.S. Census Bureau to extend the time to complete the census count to the first half of 2021. Such an extension would give the bureau plenty of time to complete all of its reports, data sets and additional reporting requirements within the reporting timeframe and give communities and individuals the time they require to be counted correctly.

“As you know, so much depends on the accuracy of the Census count, from federal aid, grants and funding for housing and health assistance to local, state and federal redistricting that it is vitally important that we get this right,” Sen. Griffo’s letter continued. “It is crucial, both for the sake of accuracy and for the public confidence in the process, to acknowledge the impacts of COVID-19 and to extend the data collection (Census counting) phase.”

Lockwood Law

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