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Florida should pick up three new seats in Congress because of the 1980 census. And New York should lose four. But it may not happen. Problems loom next year when Congress is supposed to reapportion based on the newest population figures. The reason: some congressmen object to the accuracy of the 1980 census. They grumble that their states were undercounted. There are also complaints that the census included aliens.

Once before, in 1920, Congress ignored the decennial census. That move went unchallenged. This time, however, it would stir up a political storm because it would deprive fast-growing regions of the South and West of an estimated 14 additional seats.

The outcome looks murky. A federal judge in Michigan shocked the Census Bureau by ordering it to use "estimates" to adjust for alleged undercounts in Detroit. That could lead to other court challenges that could delay reapportionment until 1984, or later.m

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