SPRINGFIELD — U.S. Congressman Richard E. Neal said Wednesday that he was "deeply troubled" by the Supreme Court's decision to end the census count early.
The decision by the court "threatens our communities’ ability to receive the funding and representation they are entitled to," Neal said in a news release. "Without an accurate count, allocation of funds for cities and towns will be considerably less, especially in hard to count communities where individuals rely on federal assistance the most."
After the Supreme Court's decision, the Census Bureau said field operations would end on Thursday, sixteen days earlier than the planned end date of Oct. 31.
“This isn’t about politics. This is about our future. Our constitution, enshrined by our Founders, mandated a fair and accurate Census," Neal said. "We must continue to fight to ensure that every person across our country has their voice heard.”
The decision is a blow to efforts to make sure minorities and hard-to-enumerate communities are properly counted in the crucial once-a-decade tally. However, it was not a total loss for plaintiffs in a lawsuit challenging the administration’s decision to end the count early. They managed to get nearly two extra weeks of counting people as the case made its way through the courts.
But the ruling increased the chances of the Trump administration retaining control of the process that decides how many congressional seats each state gets — and by extension how much voting power each state has.
The Supreme Court justices’ ruling came as the nation’s largest association of statisticians, and even the U.S. Census Bureau's own census takers and partners, have been raising questions about the quality of the data being gathered — numbers that are used to determine how much federal funding and how many congressional seats are allotted to states.