BOSTON (AP) — Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin said Thursday he’s concerned the U.S. Census Bureau count in Massachusetts is falling short because of the pandemic and is willing to share state population records to supplement the federal count.

“I am suspicious of the data that is being collected, and I am prepared to challenge any final census numbers that are significantly below our own population estimates,” Galvin said in an emailed statement.

The Census Bureau has failed to answer many questions about the progress they're making counting people in Massachusetts, said Galvin, who helps oversee the head count in Massachusetts.

Galvin said he wrote to Census Director Steven Dillingham on Thursday, offering state records to supplement what he described as shortcomings in the census data because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and a tighter census timeline proposed by the bureau.

A federal judge has ordered the Census Bureau to stop winding down operations until a court hearing for a preliminary injunction is held Sept. 17.

The state data could help the bureau locate new residences and count residents of group quarters, including college dormitories, Galvin said.

The bureau should provide greater transparency about those areas of Massachusetts that have already been surveyed, so state and local authorities can target resources to the areas with lowest response rates, Galvin said.

An email seeking comment was sent to the Census Bureau on Thursday.

The once-a-decade head count of every U.S. resident helps determine how $1.5 trillion in federal funding is distributed and how many congressional seats each state gets in a process known as apportionment.

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