Census data for redistricting will be available earlier than projected

By Jeremy Duda | Arizona Mirror

The Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission won’t have to wait as long as expected for the census data it needs to redraw the state’s legislative and congressional districts.

The U.S. Census Bureau announced on Thursday that the data states need for redistricting will be available in mid-to-late August, the Associated Press reported. Delays caused by the pandemic previously led the bureau to move the target date from the federally mandated deadline at the end of March to late July and then again to the end of September, making it likely that the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission wouldn’t be able to complete its draft maps until December or later.

However, there’s a catch: The data will be available in an outdated format that will be difficult for some states to use. 

“Given the difficulty in using data in this format, any state using this data would have to accept responsibility for how they process these files, whether correctly or incorrectly,” James Whitehorne, the head of the Census Redistricting and Voting Rights Data Office at the bureau, said in a recent court filing, according to the AP.

Doug Johnson, president of National Demographics Corporation, which was the mapping consultant for Arizona’s first redistricting commission in 2001, said the data’s format won’t be old or archaic as much as it will simply be “in a very raw format.”

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