Lu­jan Gr­isham wants to ex­tend cen­sus dead­line if Bi­den wins

With nearly half of N.M. res­i­dents in ar­eas that are hard to reach, gov. fears un­der­count

Santa Fe New Mexican - - LOCAL & REGION - As­so­ci­ated Press

Demo­cratic Gov. Michelle Lu­jan Gr­isham says that states may push for a spe­cial U.S. cen­sus en­roll­ment pe­riod next year if Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump leaves the White House.

The com­ments came at a re­cent meet­ing of the gov­er­nor’s ad­vi­sory coun­cil on racial in­jus­tice. A new coun­cil meet­ing was sched­uled Wed­nes­day by video­con­fer­ence and past meet­ings have been made avail­able on­line.

“Should there be a change in the White House, I would ex­pect that the Na­tional Gov­er­nors As­so­ci­a­tion asks the Bi­den White House to have a spe­cial cen­sus en­roll­ment pe­riod, like re-en­roll­ment pe­riod, like they do for Medi­care when things don’t quite work out right,” said Lu­jan Gr­isham, an ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee mem­ber at the as­so­ci­a­tion.

A fed­eral judge is weigh­ing whether the 2020 cen­sus count will end early on Sept. 30 or con­tinue through the orig­i­nal Oct. 31 dead­line. A coali­tion of cities and civil rights groups ar­gues that end­ing the cen­sus early will lead to an in­ac­cu­rate count that over­looks mi­nor­ity com­mu­ni­ties.

About 41 per­cent of New Mex­ico res­i­dents live in hard-to-count ar­eas — the largest pro­por­tion of any state in the na­tion, an As­so­ci­ated Press anal­y­sis of gov­ern­ment data found.

Lu­jan Gr­isham said her of­fice has re­ceived com­plaints that cen­sus track­ers are con­firm­ing par­tic­i­pa­tion and not seek­ing out un­reg­is­tered house­holds.

“They have no in­ter­est in do­ing it right, it is a shame­ful trick in my es­ti­ma­tion by the cur­rent ad­min­is­tra­tion to un­der­count states, par­tic­u­larly ... poor states, Demo­cratic states,” Lu­jan Gr­isham said.

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