The coronavirus pandemic has stymied census takers. So has the prevalence of historically difficult-to-count people in Georgia, including young children, minorities and immigrants. The outbreak, for example, forced the Census Bureau to temporarily suspend its field work.
Despite these challenges, Marilyn Stephens, an assistant regional manager with the U.S. Census Bureau, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in a recent interview that her agency is on track with its work.
“We are doing the work that we have been charged to do. It doesn’t stop for us,” Stephens said. “We are still on our steady course every day.”
Advocacy groups are battling the federal government in court over the government’s plans to wind down in-person counting by Sept. 30, a month ahead of schedule. A federal judge in California has issued a temporary restraining order, blocking the government’s move at least until a hearing in the case Thursday.
The National Urban League, League of Women Voters and other plaintiffs in the case argue rushing the process could result in “a massive undercount of the country’s communities of color and the municipalities, cities, counties, and states where they live.”
In recent court papers, a top census official said the bureau was on schedule to complete its work by the end of this month with the help of more than 235,000 workers out in the field. He added the bureau has already begun letting go some of its temporary employees who have completed their work.