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Census Bureau delays redistricting data until fall

The U.S. Census Bureau has announced that redistricting data will be delayed until the end of September.

The delivery of this data, which occurs each decade, had been pushed back multiple times due to delays in data gathering stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. The delivery date previously was set for March 31.

The data gathered includes population information about race, ethnicity, voting age, housing occupancy status, and other metrics that states need to redraw or “redistrict” legislative boundaries. These new maps determine the number of state and federal representatives each community gets.

In normal years, Federal census population data is delivered to the Texas Legislature no later than April 1 following the decennial census. As soon as the census data is verified and loaded in the computer systems, members of the legislature and other interested parties begin drawing plans. Bills to enact new state redistricting plans follow the same path through the legislature as other legislation.

This delay in data delivery likely means lawmakers will be forced to hold a special legislative session in October or November to redraw the districts ahead of 2022 primary elections. Based on population growth, Texas has been projected to gain three U.S. congressional seats.

The Senate Special Committee on Redistricting had been holding public hearings on redistricting. However, the remainder of hearing dates in February have been canceled because of winter weather and will be  rescheduled.

You also may submit public comments to the committee online. Click here to comment on the redistricting process in Texas. You may include attachments up to 24MB in size.

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