Sept. 17 (UPI) -- A federal judge on Thursday extended an order blocking the government from winding down in-person counting for the 2020 census.
U.S. District Judge for the Northern District of California Lucy Koh extended the temporary restraining order barring the Census Bureau from shutting down operations through Sept. 24 and pushed back a hearing on the issue to Sept. 22.
"If the TRO expires, plaintiffs would face hardships that tip sharply in their favor and would likely suffer irreparable harm," Koh wrote.
Koh issued the original order on Sept. 5 amid a lawsuit from a coalition of civil rights groups, civil organizations and local governments that sued the bureau to prevent it from halting in-person counting early.
The Census Bureau began releasing staff and otherwise cutting operations in an effort to cease in-person counting by Sept. 30, a month ahead of the deadline of Oct. 31 it previously chose to make up for delays related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Koh sided with the plaintiffs saying that winding down the census would cause "irreparable harm" as an inaccurate count would not be "remedied for another decade," affecting the distribution of federal and state funding as well as the allocation of other resources.