ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Sixteen states are backing Alabama’s challenge to a new method the Census Bureau is using in an effort to protect the privacy of people who participated in the head count.

A judge on Monday allowed the 16 states to file briefs in a support of a lawsuit brought by Alabama last month.

Alabama's lawsuit seeks to stop the Census Bureau from using the statistical method known as “differential privacy” in the numbers that will be used for redrawing congressional and legislative seats later this year.

The states are Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and West Virginia.

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