(COLUMBUS, Ohio) — Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost has reached a settlement agreement in his lawsuit against the U.S. Census Bureau that binds the Bureau to release the population data relevant to Ohio’s upcoming redistricting process by August 16.
The settlement comes less than a week after the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals held that Ohio had standing to sue the Bureau for illegally delaying the release of this data.
“This administration tried to drag its feet and bog this down in court, but Ohio always had the law on its side and now the federal government has finally agreed,” Yost said. “It’s time to cough up the data.”
As part of the agreement, the census bureau must also provide biweekly mandated updates confirming that it remains on track to meet the August 16 date. Those updates will become weekly in August.
AG Yost agreed to withdraw the lawsuit if the Census Bureau provides the data by the deadline.
Federal law requires the Census Bureau to give all states their census data by March 31. This data is critically important for states to make informed decisions for their constituents.
The Census Bureau announced in February that the data would be delayed until September 30, blaming COVID-19 delays. Such a postponement would have forced the Ohio Redistricting Commission to use old data in the 2021 redistricting process – a process that Ohioans created in 2018 through a constitutional amendment that passed by overwhelming margins.
By securing the release of this data long before September 30, Yost ensured that the reforms Ohioans amended their constitution to include can be properly implemented.
“Before Ohio filed, the Bureau insisted that it could not provide accurate, usable data before September. Because of our suit, the Bureau found a way.”