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People can still complete census

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They’re not quite done counting heads yet, U.S. Census Bureau officials said Tuesday.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross decided to extend the self-response deadline for the 2020 Census to Oct. 5, according to an announcement posted on the U.S. Census Bureau website.

The one-sentence announcement indicated that Ross had decided to allow five additional days for people to complete the biennial survey on their own and for field data collection efforts to continue.

Data collection deadlines have been a matter of debate in Congress and in the courts.

A California federal judge issued an injunction on Sept. 25 to block the Sept. 30 end date that the Census Bureau had established on Aug. 3.

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The judge said that counting and self-response efforts should continue until the end of October, which was the pandemic-related deadline the Bureau had set this summer. The original deadline announced in early 2021, before the coronavirus emergency, was July 30.

The Census Bureau indicated that it would comply with the ruling while its general counsel evaluated the court order and that it would announce updates if needed.

The New Mexico congressional delegation has been among the U.S. senators and representatives who have asked the bureau to continue data collection. They have said that otherwise, Native Americans, rural households and other hard-to-reach groups most likely will be significantly undercounted.

To complete a survey, people can go online to www.2020census.gov, or call the bureau at 844-330-2020. They also can contact the heads of local volunteer efforts, Marcos Nava, 575-624-0889, or Louis Jaramillo, 575-624-6562.