My Two Census

Formerly the non-partisan watchdog of the 2010 US Census, and currently an opinion blog that covers all things political, media, foreign policy, globalization, and culture…but sometimes returning to its census/demographics roots.

Crime but no punishment…

Federal law requires participation in the census, and failure to respond to the 2010 Census can result in a $100 fine. Providing false answers carries a more hefty $500 fine.

However, MyTwoCensus is willing to go beyond saying that these punishments are rarely enforced, as it seems that they are NEVER enforced. At least they haven’t been in our lifetimes…

In an April 14 conversation between MyTwoCensus and Census Bureau spokesman Stephen Buckner, we learned that “The Census Bureau is not a law enforcement agency. We try to make Americans understand the importance of completing the census, but we don’t try to enforce those penalties.”

If you fail to participate in the census, don’t lose sleep over it because the the Attorney General won’t have an armada of prosecutors and U.S. Marshals chasing you down…

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20 Responses to “Crime but no punishment…”

  1. My Two Census » Blog Archive » The First 2010 Census Protesters: Viva La Revolution!!! Says:

    [...] protest their own participation in the 2010 Census. Just yesterday, we wrote how there is very little that the U.S. Government can do to punish individuals who fail to complete their 2010 Census forms, which, in this case, is the [...]

  2. guy incognito Says:

    do you people understand that this is how your local governments get money…right?

  3. C2k partnership specialist Says:

    Guy incog, I’m going to say that a bit louder… DO YOU PEOPLE UNDERSTAND THIS IS NOW YOUR LOCAL GOVERNMENTS GET MONEY???

  4. C2k partnership specialist Says:

    Furthermore, if people do not participate in the Census, depending where you live, you may lose congressional representation re the other main reason for census taking: districting. Reapportionment.

    As a former grant writer for federal and private monies, census figures are used to show NEED. If you don’t get an accurate count of your state’s residents, you are screwing yourselves out of federal funding. If you don’t get the federal funding you need, guess what? Your state and local gov’s will fill that need from the local taxpayer’s wallet. At least in federal funding, it’s spread around the entire U.S. population. To get your fair share, you must be counted.

    One more thing – encourage undocumented residents’ participation. Let me explain something. If you have 10,000 residents/citizens and 5,000 undocumented residents but only show a count of 10,000, you locality will only receive federal funding for, e.g., public safety (cops, fire dept) 10,000 people. But you have 15,000 people using those services. Ditto for highway funds, security, health services, education.

    This isn’t the time to be saying I’m not going to participate and I can’t be arrested blah blah. It’s the same as shooting yourself in the foot. What purpose does it serve? It’s not in your best interest OR in the best interest of your family and community to not fill in the form and send it in.

  5. Anonymous CL Says:

    ‘C2k partnership specialist’ is exactly right!


    The laws exist and it is a criminal act not to cooperate and provide truthful answers to the Census. That said, prosecution is ALWAYS discretionary. How often do we hear of Police feeling certain they KNOW who committed, even a very serious crime, where the Police see the evidence gathered should have been more than sufficient to result in a prosecution; however, from there it is ultimately left to the Prosecutors, to make the call on that. What will happen is that eventually, enough people will blatantly refuse and at that juncture the US Attorney General will get the wake up call, that they need to address it. Most people are very cooperative, so the few that aren’t have gotten away with it. The majority of issues I’ve encountered have actually been with the indigenous Americans, some of whom, harbor understandably hard feelings about the history between themselves and the Federal Government.
    Not much an Enumerator can do to bridge that gap.

  7. speedwell Says:

    I know that the census is used to enumerate the people. The census taker knew that an adult male and an adult female lived at our place, and had good evidence to assume we had running water and flush toilets. Fair enough. To the rest of her questions (on the telephone) I answered politely, “Please mark that refused.” We ended the call amicably. That’s more than the government needs, and that’s all they’re going to get.

  8. cyrrus Says:

    Plain and simple
    They dont need the info that they ask for
    They have other ways of obtaining the info
    It dosnt mater at all to me what they think they need it for I will not supply it to them.

    just because the founding fathers thought we needed thing like the census and the electoral college dosent mean we do need them now.

  9. chazbedlam Says:

    From the Constitution – “Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included in this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding the whole Number of free Persons….”

    I am only constitutionally obligated to provide a headcount of those persons living in my household. The census form asks several questions that are NONE OF THE GOVERNMENT’S DAMN BUSINESS. I fill out questions related specifically to those obligations specifically enumerated in the Constitution, and zero others. I encourage others to do the same.

  10. hbspd416 Says:

    Well, guy and C2k, thanks for setting us MORONS straight. I thought the purpose of the census was to COUNT CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES FOR REPRESENTATION. Funny, they ask more questions than they need to simply COUNT the public. Just becuase they use this information to dole out Government handouts according to their politically correct apportions doesn’t justify its existence.

  11. D.Echevarria Says:

    guy and C2K got it wrong. This Census is an invasion of privacy. I would rather pay $100 and simply give them a head count. You are a fool if you give the government all your personal information and expect them to not use it to their advantage, e.g. gerrymandering, in order to push their agenda. The Constitution requires a simple head count nothing more.

  12. johnson Says:

    yes, please, all you right wing kooks & Aryan nation types in Utah, Idaho, Montana, Colorado, the South, yes, please, do not fill out your census forms.

    Then there won’t be as many of you nutcases elected to Congress or other lowly posts.

    (since all election districts are required to use Census data in drawing fair & equitable districts, the more right wing nuts that drop out, the fewer of these tea baggers are given political representation)

  13. Reality Check Says:

    To C2k partnership:

    Really? THAT is how the local government gets money?!? They have to sit around and wait every 10 years for their slice of the federal pie? I work in county government and that’s a bunch of horse apples!

    My state, county and local governments ALL have running tally’s of who is in their districts, cities, states, etc. EVERY budget cycle has submissions and backing data for federal funding. ALL planning is ongoing and continual (in comparison to the 10 year census cycle).

    Census data is a source of information, but it is in no way the only source of data, and is within a few years the data is often quite outdated depending on the dynamics, growth or change within any give community or state.

  14. winston Says:

    Your characterization of people refusing to answer unnecessary probing questions is grossly simplistic.
    For example, I consider myself a progressive (I’d use “liberal”, but FauxNews has sullied the term) and I will not be answering all of those questions. It is now 2010; our society is *supposed* to have moved past racial politics. Which begs the question, WHY are we being asked about race?

  15. Let's UNITE against Liars Says:

    Isn’t race, etc Unconstitutional Discrimination?

  16. Karri Says:

    From reading some of the comments it is obvious that some of you are ignorant of the reality. The information you provide the census workers isnt private or personal information. It is public information that anyone can get. You can look up any address on the property appraisers office and get an owners name. You can look up a marriage certificate and get your date of birth. The only thing you cant get, which is private and personal is a persons social security number. The questions that are asked on the census form such as “do you own your house” is for housing programs, not information about your mortgage. Your date of birth is for programs for the elderly or women or children. There is 400 billion dollars worth of programs and federal funding available, you know like fema for disaster assisance? If you dont get counted, your city wont have the money available and YOU IDIOTS will help them drain it out of the taxpayers. Use your brain.

  17. Karri Says:

    Winston, the race question is for implimenting laws for voting rights and civil rights, voting districts, fair employment practices, equality in health and education and funding for public services.

    The hispanic, latino origin question is for aniti-discrimination provisions and to plan and administer bilingual programs for people of hispanic origin. If they dont answer the questions, they wont get any assistance to learn the english language so they can live the american dream.

  18. to Karri Says:

    Karri, you’re worried about THOSE IDIOTS helping the government get money from taxpayers. Where do you think those federal funds you’re drooling over have come from?

    If it’s publicly available information that anyone can look up, wouldn’t you think the census-takers would just look it up rather than walking around to everyone’s house?

  19. JT Says:

    The Census is just one more example of America following (and in this case, building onto) outdated practices, not unlike the electoral college, the “Absolute Authority” of the executive branch, having a SINGLE leader in absolute charge of a country with MILLIONS of INDIVIDUAL people in it etc. etc. ad nausea!
    Programs and practices that were ( for the most part) needed, only because it took weeks to get information from one side of our country to the other. Laws and practices that were set in place before mass communication (and higher education for that matter) were common place.
    The 2010 Census asks a great many questions that are (in my opinion, and obviously, in the opinion of MANY of my fellow American citizens) absolutely NONE of the governments business. It matters NOT that said information might be considered “public” or easily accessed in a given scenario.
    I, personally, don’t want any of the “federal money” that the federal government has “available”. It is my opinion (as well as the stated opinion of a vast swath of my fellow citizens) that the practice of the federal government collecting monies in the form of taxes, and then redistributing said monies for purposes other than that of national defense is not only unnecessary, but ranges FAR beyond the scope and intention of the persons who founded this country.
    It is time to take the feeding trough away from the ever more voracious federal bureaucracy, to make a return to a VERY low federal tax (sufficient for national defense) and a proportionately higher State and City income tax (where necessary). It is time that we stop paying for the social and infrastructure programs in one State with funds that are being extorted from the citizens of another State that is, in many cases, halfway across the United States.
    It is time that we REDUCE the size, scope and authority of the federal government in order that we may return authority to it’s rightful place. The Government of the States and Municipalities in which we live.
    Then if you don’t like your States or Municipalities programs, and or you feel that you taxes are too high, the services you are offered are too sparse or that the laws are not to your liking, you have the option to MOVE to a different State that more effectively represents your personal interests and more closely reflects your personal beliefs and values.
    The only time that the federal government should be involved in any matter is when that matter involves the common defense (with the absolute EXCLUSION of any form of preemptive WAR) of the United States or in cases where it becomes necessary to defend the individual rights of a citizen, as laid out in the Bill of Rights. Any other acts should be considered treasonous without a constitutional referendum, and further, any individuals performing or perpetuating such actions should be tried and punished according to the prescriptions laid out in the Constitution.
    It should further be mandatory that ANY citizen who wishes to participate in matters of government – be it to cast a vote or to serve in a public office, should be required to demonstrate a minimum level of competence. While the prevention of disenfranchisement due to physical disability should be provided, the same can not be said of mental disabilities. At a minimum, a through understanding of the issue(s) that are to be voted upon and the potential consequence of said vote(s) should be MANDATORY. Any person who can not explain the issue and the ramifications there or, should be denied the right to cast a ballot. In cases where disability precludes the competent performance of their duty, accommodation of any kind, should and must NOT be made. We don’t grant the men and women who man our ICBM bases “accommodation” for their “disabilities”, be the disability a physical or mental one, and neither should we do so for the persons who would serve in a capacity as our elected representatives of government.

    Just my 2 cents!

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