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Will You Be Fined for Ignoring a Census Bureau Snooping Survey?

Written by Gary North on May 23, 2014

The law says yes.

The facts say no.

Fortunately, the Census Bureau has not enforced the law since about 1970.

Over 50 years ago, Murray Rothbard said that statistics are the Achilles’ heel of government planning. That is why the following is good news.

Bob Cole, who hosts Austin radio station KOKE-FM’s weekday morning show, said on the air Jan. 7, 2014, that he couldn’t believe the U.S. Census Bureau told him he was legally required to participate in a government survey.

“In a few days you will receive an American Community Survey questionnaire in the mail,” the bureau said in a letter to Cole, which he said he received in late 2013 or early in the new year. The letter said: “Because you are living in the United States, you are required by law to respond to this survey.” Cole gave us a copy of a bureau envelope with this nudge outside: “Your response is required by law.”

The ACS, sent annually in recent years to a sampling of more than 3 million U.S. households, collects detailed information on population and housing, helping to update the information gathered in every decennial census, the bureau says online. “Estimates from the ACS contribute to providing an important picture of America, and an accurate response to the ACS questionnaire is important,” the agency says. “When used in conjunction with the most recently available decennial census counts, information from the ACS documents how we live as a nation, including our education, housing, jobs, and many other issues.”

Cole asked us to verify that Americans are legally bound to fill out the survey. “I can see the validity of some of the questions,” he said, others less so. The material he received said the bureau estimates it takes 40 minutes to complete. (See the 2014 questionnaire, which has more than 50 questions for each person in a household, here.)

Bureau cites statutes

The materials received by Cole included an FAQ with this question: “Do I have to answer the questions?”

(For the rest of the article, click the link.)

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12 thoughts on “Will You Be Fined for Ignoring a Census Bureau Snooping Survey?

  1. Scundoo says:

    I received one of these "jumbo surveys" in the mail earlier this year. I am an engineer, accustomed to filling our forms for various bureaucracies. This package "took the cake" for ridiculousness. Forty minutes ! I don't think so.

    It would take at least an hour of my precious time to answer a bunch of questions that are none of their business. I have much better things to do, like making a living or maintaining my property, etc. Luckily, I live in a secluded rural area with a hidden gated driveway. They have not found me yet.

  2. Phillip the Bruce says:

    The Constitution authorizes a census every 10 years for the purpose of determining Congressional representation. That is all. They can ask whatever they want, but they cannot constitutionally require a response.
    They want the answers to the ACS in order to help divvy up money that they have no business spending (or taxing or borrowing).

  3. sweetqueen777 says:

    When the last big census broohaha occurred, about 10 years ago, I was informed by many sources that all they can legally ask is how many people live in your home. That is all I tell them. I sent back the uncompleted booklet, with that notation, and I have never heard another word. BOOM!!!

  4. buckeye says:

    The 13th amendment prohibits involuntary servitude. If that doesn't work the 5th amendment says the government cannot compel you to serve as a witness against yourself.

  5. I got something similar. There was section for each member of the household. So put the dog and cats names down.

  6. The people commenting here are lucky.

    I received the ACS and was harassed by no less that 6 different bureau workers over the course of 6 months.

    I was threatened that federal marshals would arrest me if I continued to resist so I threatened them with local police if they didn't get off my property.

    My final experience was with a "supervisor" who was waiting in my driveway when I got home from work. She, was at least, courteous and understanding about my reservations and politely told me that I did not have to answer any of the questions that made me uncomfortable. So, I told her that the entire long form makes me uncomfortable and I had no intention of participating.

    She closed my case and told me that my name will be re-submitted in five years.

    If this happens to you. Please, don't put bogus information on the ACS because they use it to determine where federal monies are spent. Not only that, but the government considers your response (whether it's bogus or not) justification for continuing to expand the long form.

    Take a stand and refuse to participate. Let them find the judge who will issue an arrest warrant for "resident" because they did not voluntarily allow the government to violate their 4th Amendment rights.

  7. Centurian says:

    Several years ago, I also received an ACS demand. I ignored it, researched it and also ignored the many phone calls. When a representative arrived at my door, I politely asked her to leave. The fact that I was wearing a sidearm and the word "Deputy" was on my shirt (deputy fire chief at the time) scared the crap out of her. She insisted and I demanded that she leave my private property. She tried to claim she had some right to be there and I told her she was now trespassing and I would give her one more chance to leave under her own power or be arrested and jailed. She muttered and left. I then went down the road to see that she was trying to piece together answers given what she'd seen and by talking to my neighbors. They didn't help her and I reported her "suspicious vehicle" to my friend the Police Chief. She got a visit and left. The only thing these tyrants know is force. So….

  8. I worked as a census enumerator in the 2010 census, and our instructions were to inform people that they are required by law to give the information, and get as much information as we could. If we got no information we would mark the form Refused, and that was the end of it.

  9. I recieved one of these census "surveys" last year also. I told my wife to throw it away. We would recieve nasty letters that I ould throw away. The next month we started to get the threatening phone calls that freaked out my wife. I told the nosey nasty women on the other end of the line to go away and leave us alone. We ignored the rest of the calls. On the 3rd month we had people stopping by and the wife and kids would hide in the house untill they would leave, until they cought my wife when she was out in the garden. She told the man to come back when I came home that night. Sure enough he came back later that night and I told him I did not want to fill it out and to go away and not to come back. He was very nice and asked why I would not fill it out. I informed him that I valued my privacy and that I found the questions "highly offensive and an invasion of my privacy" ( Liberal "magic words") and that I had filled out the basic information in the last census and I didn't want to be bothered again. He wrote something down (doesn't play well with others is my guess) and left.

  10. EFortin says:

    Next time just put N/A next to all the questions. That way you are complying with an answer. Not exactly what they are looking for, but they don't need to know anything about your life.

  11. FLADUDE says:

    wow I get so many of those, that said they were from the government , some were scams to get you to pay for the survey that said they were from the Gov. in an official looking envelope, I throw them away.
    I will fill out the 10 year census survey, nothing else.

  12. Even if you fill the entire thing out using N/A as an answer the government will still consider your compliance in the statistics they use to justify future compliance.

    In short, I was told the only way this stops is when people cease to comply.