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Secretary of State John H. Merrill Urges President Biden to Release Census Data in Timely Manner


Friday, February 19, 2021 – MONTGOMERY – Alabama Secretary of State John H. Merrill issued a letter to President Joseph R. Biden today urging his administration to release data from the U.S. Census Bureau no later than April 30.

The letter stated the following:

I am writing you today to express my concern over the U.S. Census Bureau’s recent announcement of the up to six-month delay on the release of the Census data to the states. In January, the Census Bureau extended the original deadline of March 31 to April 30. Recent discussions to extend the release to September 30 would jeopardize states’ ability to effectively administer elections.

Many states require the Legislature to use the most recent Census data to implement reapportionment, as many decisions are determined based on how districts are drawn. Seeing as Alabama is in a position to possibly lose a seat in the United States House of Representatives, such an extensive delay would place an extreme burden on citizens, candidates, and election officials alike.

Further delay of the release of Census data will prohibit the Alabama Legislature from completing redistricting prior to state deadlines to administer the 2022 Election Cycle. Such a delay could force Alabama, and many other states, to violate laws dictating the reapportionment process.

During this crucial time in our nation’s history when restoring confidence in the electoral process is paramount, a delay would likely generate confusion for voters, candidates, and others involved.

Seeing as fair redistricting cannot take place without the timely delivery of Census information, I respectfully urge you to avoid additional delays beyond April 30. Releasing data as it is available state-by-state may resolve this issue for many states.