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Trump administration's Census 2020 violations 'must stop,' judge says

Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross wants data collection to end Oct. 5 -- in defiance of a court order -- rather than Oct. 31.

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The US Census has been scheduled to last through October.
Angela Lang/CNET

A US federal judge expressed frustration with the Commerce Department's push to end the 2020 Census on Oct. 5 instead of the previously ordered Oct. 31, saying that the Trump administration's violations of her court order "must stop."

"Defendants' dissemination of erroneous information; lurching from one hasty, unexplained plan to the next; and unlawful sacrifices of completeness and accuracy of the 2020 Census are upending the status quo, violating the Injunction Order, and undermining the credibility of the Census Bureau and the 2020 Census," US District Judge Lucy Koh said Thursday.

Koh was particularly bothered that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced on Monday the new target date, as previously noted by Bloomberg. The department sent a one-sentence tweet on Monday, followed by an identical press release.

"The Secretary of Commerce has announced a target date of October 5, 2020 to conclude 2020 Census self-response and field data collection operations," the tweet and press release stated.

Read more: Census 2020: Armed with the iPhone 8, canvassers are going modern  

The US Census Bureau originally planned for its response collection to end July 31, but the date was pushed to Oct. 31 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The coronavirus has made this year's count more complicated than normal.

The Commerce Department didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.