The U.S. Census Bureau announced that it would deliver redistricting data to the states by September 30, six months later than originally planned. The bureau will release the data all at once, rather than on a rolling state-by-state basis as in the past. The new delivery date is just 71 days before the statutory filing deadline for the 2022 elections.

A few weeks ago, the bureau said it would release the data sometime after July 31.

“We are focusing first on our constitutional obligation to deliver the state population counts for apportionment to the President,” said redistricting office chief James Whitehorne in a statement. “This focus … has delayed some of the processing activities necessary to generate the redistricting counts.”

Apportionment data are now expected in the second half of April, more than three months after the statutory deadline. This data set – essentially state-level population counts – is used to apportion the U.S. House of Representatives according to a complex formula.

Redistricting data includes census block-level counts of population by race, ethnicity, voting age, housing occupancy status and group quarters occupancy. Irregularities among that last group was previously identified as one of the reasons behind the delays.

Whitehorne said that the now-planned national delivery date ensures that the bureau “can provide accurate, high quality and fit-for-use data in the least total amount of time to all states.”

In 2012, a three-judge federal panel twice delayed the primary election over redistricting litigation, first to April 3 and then to May 29.

Rep. Phil King (R-Weatherford) has filed a bill to postpone the 2022 primary election if no plan adopted by the Legislature or the Legislative Redistricting Board is in effect by September 1. The primary election would have to be held by July 1. House Bill 1848 would provide that the filing deadlines and other election-related deadlines would shift accordingly.

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