Census information backlogged because of the pandemic and it could affect Pa.

March 9 – With no census information, Congressional lines can’t be redrawn, which means the number of seats California, Oregon, Florida and even Pennsylvania will have in the House and Senate are not known. And we’ve got a midterm election coming up in 2022. Will the info be available by then?

We don’t know.

Attorney Clint Barkdoll, Pat Ryan and Michele Jansen on 103.7FM discussed the issue today.

“It’s a problem,” Barkdoll said. “We know the Congressional districts have to be redrawn every ten years in conjunction with the census. Most demographers have projected Pennsylvania would lose a seat in Congress and the remaining districts would have to be redrawn.”

It also puts candidates in a difficult position.

If someone is thinking of running for a seat and they are in one of the areas that gets redistricted, they suddenly have a problem come election time.

Some campaigns will start a year ahead, so the time is now to know the census numbers.

“Remember what happened to Scott Perry,” Jansen pointed out. “His district was completely redrawn. How do you plan and prepare when you don’t know if your district’s going to be the same by the time people are voting?”

“They need to get the data dispatched quickly so state and local governments have time to adjust,” Barkdoll said.  

It certainly seems that government efficiency and competency in in full action here. #sarcasm

“There are some reports that the Census Bureau is claiming they didn’t really finish the job effectively in 2020,” Barkdoll said. “COVID compromised their ability to do an accurate head count.”

Indeed a lot of census workers will physically go door to door to get that count and because of the pandemic, that couldn’t happen.

The solution isn’t clear.

The bureau could ask for more time, but the deadline is well past and gets farther and farther away with every day that passes.

Census information not only affects Congressional districts, but also funding, including budget discussions and grant monies.

“In the absence of that data, whether you’re a small borough or large city, they are also going to be placed on hold for certain funding because there isn’t an accurate census account,” Barkdoll said.