WASHINGTON, D.C. — The attorney general of Alabama and Rep. Robert Aderholt (R) filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Census Bureau on Wednesday, alleging that 2020 census data was being intentionally manipulated ahead of this year’s redistricting efforts. The lawsuit also claims that the Bureau was deliberately delaying its reporting of the census results to Congress.
The Census Bureau recently announced it would be delaying the release of its 2020 results by six months due to the unprecedented challenges it faced collecting data last year from the pandemic, natural disasters and the Trump administration’s frequent interference into the work of the nonpartisan agency. It has also been working to establish a new layer of privacy protection called “differential privacy,” which adds a small amount of data “noise” into the aggregate results so as to better protect the identities of individuals who participate in the census. Since 2010, concerns about hacking, data mining and targeting of minority and undocumented communities have furthered concerns about the vulnerability of census data, which differential privacy aims to address.
Alabama is the second state to sue the Bureau over its new timeline, following Ohio’s suit two weeks ago.