COLUMBUS, OH (WOWK) – A settlement agreement has been reached in Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost’s lawsuit against the U.S. Census Bureau. Through the agreement, the Bureau must release the population data relevant to the state’s redistricting process before August 16.
The announcement of the settlement comes within a week of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that Ohio had the standing to sue the Bureau for delaying its release of the 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.”
Yost says the agreement will also require the Bureau to provide biweekly updates to confirm it remains on track to meet the August 16 deadline. According to Yost’s office, the attorney general has agreed to withdraw the lawsuit if the Bureau provides the needed data by this deadline.
The Ohio Attorney General’s Office says federal law requires census data to be released to all states by March 31 because that data is necessary for the states to “make informed decisions for their constituents.” However, in February of this year, the Bureau said the data release would be delayed until Sept. 30 because of the pandemic.
“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.”
Yost says the delay would have forced the Ohio Redistricting Commission to use old data for its 2021 redistricting process. The process was created through a constitutional amendment that passed in 2018.