It appears to present at least the second time that Ross, who critics charge has tried to sway the census to favor Republican electoral prospects for the next decade, decided to manage the census in a way the bureau’s own experts warned would produce a less accurate count.
The newly released document presents to Ross an approach — “in response to your request” — for a “highly compressed schedule for 2020 Census data processing and review of data products.” The modifications to the review process, the document says, would eliminate or change several steps designed to check the data for accuracy before it is made public and used to divide up congressional representation.
The truncated schedule also puts some census field workers who knock on doors at risk during the pandemic. It said that to complete counting by September 30, the bureau “will have to deploy staff regardless of the COVID-19 risk in those areas.”
“All of these activities represent abbreviated processes or eliminated activities that will reduce accuracy,” the document concludes.
CNN has reached out to the Census Bureau for comment on the document.
Field work for the 2020 census was paused this spring when the pandemic hit, and the Trump administration announced it would extend the window for responses through October. Lawmakers from both parties supported the change.
“Congressman, my understanding is there were discussions but that wasn’t at my level,” he testified. “And so that is my understanding, that there have been some discussions and consideration of that and has been also reported in the news. But that’s not something I’d personally participate in.”