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Parson joins push to release 2020 census redistricting data early

Gov. Mike Parson joined a coalition of Republican governors urging the Biden administration to release the 2020 census redistricting data as soon as possible.

The group called on U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo to release the data as soon as possible, pointing to delays in the redistricting process and their administrations’ cooperation with the U.S. Census Bureau as deadlines fluctuated over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. The statutory deadline for the data was March 31, but the bureau was delayed with a release expected around the end of September. 

“We are now facing a nearly half-year delay beyond the statutory deadline for receiving redistricting data. This delay places an unreasonable burden on our states and undermines public trust in the foundations of our democratic republic,” the coalition said in the letter. “As a result of such negative impacts to our constitutional responsibilities, we seek the release of redistricting data as soon as possible — and in line with traditional timelines — so that states may begin to perform important redistricting tasks on behalf of our constituents.”

The 15 executives argued the delay would cause issues redrawing maps ahead of next year’s elections, with congressional, state legislature, and school redistricting reliant on the data. 

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, and Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon also signed the letter. 

Per the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), a summary in a raw format without tables or other access tools is expected to be available in mid-to-late August following a lawsuit from Ohio. 

According to the apportionment results released earlier this year, Missouri is set to retain its eight congressional seats while it lost one after the 2010 census data. The state’s population exceeded more than 6.1 million according to the data. 

Missouri’s redistricting process has changed since the last census, finally settling on the current version with the passage of Amendment 3 in November. While a constitutional amendment enacted by voters in 2018 established a nonpartisan state demographer position to redraw the map, the redistricting process now falls to two bipartisan commissions appointed by the governor, one representing each chamber. 

The legislature is considering redistricting as well; the House Special Committee on Redistricting convened during session to hear testimony on redistricting from each Congressional district. 

Several hopefuls have announced their bids for the state legislature next year, and contenders have also launched their campaigns for the seat being vacated by Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler as she vies for U.S. Senator Roy Blunt’s open position.

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