Updated: September 25, 2020 05:32 PM
Created: September 25, 2020 03:34 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- In a ruling against the Trump administration, a federal judge extended the Census deadline through the end of October 2020.
Previously, the deadline was the end of September.
New Mexico officials hope the extended deadline will lead to more New Mexicans being counted. However, state officials want people to fill out their Census as soon as possible just in case the judge's decision is overturned.
"Our approach is we can't let our foot off the gas on this because we expect an appeal and, you know, it's still unsettled in a lot of ways," said Tripp Stelnicki, director of communications for Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.
New Mexico faces challenges. Many rural areas do not have internet access.
"In a normal year, they'll send people out to these places, but of course we've got the pandemic so that's been limited in certain ways and a lot more of it has shifted to a self response mode of calling or going online," Stelnicki said.
According Stelnicki, more than 100 state employees have volunteered their time to make calls to people who have not responded to the Census. He added that they've made nearly 500,000 calls.
"We're proceeding as if we won't have that extra time because we don't want to take that chance," he said.
The Census count is tied to money that funds programs for New Mexicans.
"If you have an inaccurate representation of your population through the Census once a decade, you can't fix that," Stelnicki warned.
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