Saturday, December 29, 2007

The American Community Survey

Guess what? I've been cordially ordered by the federal government to fill out the American Community Survey, a truly nosy, non-census-year census form.

Obviously, we are not going to send it in, as I'm very eager to help shrink the size of our government and will not consciously betray those principles by filling out a form that collects information for "government planners." Although it is tempting, as I'm sure not many atheist homeschoolers get to fill out the form (religion is not a question, though, as it is prohibited by law for them to ask about your religion).

From the website (with my helpful emphasis):

Decennial sample data are out-of-date soon after they are published, about two years after the census is taken. Their usefulness declines every year thereafter. Yet billions of government and business dollars are divided among jurisdictions and population groups each year based on their social and economic profiles in the decennial census.

The American Community Survey can identify changes in an area's population and give an up-to-date statistical picture when data users need it, every year, not just once in ten years. Communities can use the data, to track the well-being of children, families, and the elderly; determine where to locate new highways, schools, and hospitals; show a large corporation that a town has the workforce the company needs; evaluate programs such as welfare and workforce diversification; and monitor and publicize the results of their programs.

And my first question is: Who are the data users? Hmph.

Also: No, no, no, and no. While it may give some the warm and fuzzies to know that their federal government is tracking their well-being, it gives me the creepy shivers and keeps me awake at night. No. It is not the proper function of government to locate or provide new schools, highways, or hospitals. No. Large corporations should be able to figure out for themselves (by working with local officials, sure) if there will be a sufficiently numerous and qualified workforce for its offices. No. Welfare and workforce diversification? Again with the not being a proper role of government. No.

They very kindly sent a "guide" to filling out this 28 page booklet (snarky comments included free of charge).

Why are we taking a survey?

The Census Bureau is conducting the American Community Survey to provide more timely data than data we typically collect only once every 10 years during the decennial census. Eliminate the word "timely" and you've got it right.

What does the Census Bureau do with the information you provide?
The American Community Survey will be the source of summarized data that we make available to federal, state, and local governments, and also to the public. The data will enable your community leaders from government, business, and non-profit organizations to plan more effectively.

Here are reasons we ask some of the questions on the survey.

Names help make sure that everyone in a household is included on the List of Residents, but that no one is listed twice. Yup! Don't want to leave anyone out, as that might affect funding! Also, they want detailed information on everyone in the house, including the children. ?!?!?!

Value or rent

Government and planning agencies use answers to these questions in combination with other information to develop housing programs to meet the needs of people at different economic levels. Who are these "planning agencies?" I reiterate: I want the government to shrink, not grow. Planned economies have been tried and failed, although I guess our government officials must be a bit slow to catch on to that.

Complete plumbing

This question helps provide information on the quality of housing. The data are used with other statistics to show how the "level of living" compares in various areas and how it changes over time. How does the government knowing this protect my rights?

Place of birth

This question provides information used to study long-term trends about where people move and to study migration patterns and differences in growth patterns. How is this relevant in the 21st century? Migration patterns? Besides, this is such a stupid way to figure out shifts in population. I have personally lived in 9 different states. I did not move here from Connecticut, where I was born. So how could knowing that possibly be meaningful?


Answers to the questions about the jobs people hold provide information on the extent and types of employment in different areas of the country. From this information, communities can develop training programs, and business and local governments can determine the need for new employment opportunities. It is not the government's job to provide new employment opportunities. It is not the government's job to provide new employment opportunities. It is not the government's job to provide new employment opportunities.


Income helps determine how well families or persons live. Income information makes it possible to compare the economic levels of different areas, and how economic levels for a community change over time. Funding for many government programs is based on the answers to these questions. First of all, can't they get this from my tax return? Why, yes! They can! Furthermore, I don't want the government to fund any more wasteful, immoral programs.


Responses to the education questions in the survey help to determine the number of public schools, education programs, and daycare services required in a community. It is not the government's job to provide schools, education programs or daycare services. Pretend I repeated that one a couple times, too.


Questions about disability provide the means to allocate Federal funding for healthcare services and new hospitals in many communities. You know, I really hate repeating myself.

Journey to work

Answers to these questions help communities plan road improvements, develop public transportation services, and design programs to ease traffic problems. If you are familiar with Atlanta traffic, this one is simply hilarious! Really, I'm dying here!

I love how they take the time to point out how filling this form out is in my best interest, since I will be the recipient of so many services and gifts from The Beneficent Oz the government.

So, you're probably wondering what's going to happen to Brendan and me, what with the not filling out of the form. It is required by law, you see.

The American Community Survey is conducted under the authority of Title 13, United States Code, Sections 141 and 193, and response is mandatory. According to Section 221, persons who do not respond shall be fined not more than $100. Title 18 U.S.C. Section 3571 and Section 3559, in effect amends Title 13 U.S.C. Section 221 by changing the fine for anyone over 18 years old who refuses or willfully neglects to complete the questionnaire or answer questions posed by census takers from a fine of not more than $100 to not more than $5,000. The U.S. Census Bureau may use this information only for statistical purposes. We can assure you that your confidentiality is protected. Title 13 requires the Census Bureau to keep all information about you and all other respondents strictly confidential. Any Census Bureau employee who violates these provisions is subject to a fine of up to $250,000 or a prison sentence of up to five years, or both.
So, there's a fine, and a brand new hefty one, too. It's money we can't spare right now (or ever), but we will. If I were threatened with jail time, I might make a different decision, in light of being deprived of my freedom, of having to be away from my small kids. But a fine I can deal with.

I simply cannot participate in this stupid, unnecessary, immoral, dare I say unconstitutional, prying into my life by the government. I can't pretend that this is all really for my own benefit or for my family's benefit. It's not. They want me to think that all this government planning is necessary to the proper role of government. It's not. They need my help to do this and I won't go along with it.



I live in India. I learnt new things today. My best wishes to you for 2008. The Census system in our country is similar to yours, but there is no threat of jail or penalty. The Census employee will be happy if we refuse to give information to himher, because it reduces hisher work load. Heshe will record something like 'door locked' and go merrily.

Patty Becker said...

I'm really sorry that you think the American Community Survey is a waste of government money. I can provide you with dozens of examples where census data have helped everyone in the community--government, nonprofits, for-profit organizations, students, etc. etc. to understand their own situations and make better decisions on how to allocate scarce resources.

The people from the Census Bureau will contact you again if you don't respond. It is really important to provide your information so that we understand the entire picture of the American community. I urge you to reconsider. If you want more details, feel free to contact me.

brendan said...

Ms. Becker,

I think you must have missed the poster's point; she has no problem with the census in and of itself; it provides information necessary to government so that the can determine electoral college configuration for elections.

I'm assuming those are the "scarce resources" to which you refer. If however you are referring to *money*, I daresay it wouldn't be so scarce if the government wasn't so busy wasting it to the tune of millions of dollars per day.

As it is, my money is a scarce resource. I'd like to keep as much of it as I can. I'll determine how best to allocate it, if you don't mind.

The census itself is fine, as it was originally created, and within its constitutional limits. It is the intrusiveness of the *modern* census that causes such wide objection. The government has no right to this information, regardless of the guise under which it is "requested". If the census stays within its constitutional limits, I think you'll find that the vast majority of people (myself included) will gladly comply.

Also -- I have to ask -- do you work for the Census Bureau? Are you being paid to make posts like this? I'm only asking because I'd like to know how my tax dollars are being "allocated".

Darren said...

I this I heard about this survey on the radio. I think this is the survey where the government will send official-looking person to your front door (with badges, event) if you don't respond. Just to try to intimidate you.

Or to put it like Patty did, they want to "urge" you. And remind you that they will contact you again.

What creeps. Some people are almost passive-aggressive in the way they use the government.

Rational Jenn said...

Thanks for coming by, Headheart Journal! I certainly wish the American Census workers were more like the ones in India.

Ms. Becker--I fear you have missed the point of all of my snarky comments. Individuals should be the ONLY people to make decisions about how to allocate scarce resources. You do realize you are advocating socialism, I hope. I don't recognize the government's right to such information about me and my husband and my small children. I'll fill out the decennial census form and that is ALL. Consider me NOT urged.

Brendan and Darren--Thanks! I do fully expect government intimidator peopleguys to come to my door. I'm ready.

Anonymous said...

Good for you, Jenn!

Rational Jenn said...

Thanks, Karen! I appreciate your support!

Monica said...

Patty, all but your last sentence is paternalistic nonsense. Furthermore, the whole idea of a census is just plain scientifically invalid.

Basic statistics. The greater the sample size of a universe, the closer to accurate it becomes. Adequate sampling requires far fewer numbers than people realize. This can and has been demonstrated with actual census data in basic graduate statistics classes in universities, such as the Intro to Sampling Techniques class I took. Since the entire universe of the US population is known from census data, all one needs to do is keep increasing the sample size of census data until a fair approximation of census data are obtained. We determined that the actual number of census forms needed to obtain decent estimates is..................... drumroll.................................

about 1000 forms for the entire US population. A census by definition is a sampling of every single unit in the universe. There is NO scientifically valid reason for ANY census. Ever. For anything we can even imagine that we would want to study.

Several thousand census forms (it would thus cease to be a census), would provide data with a margin of error on each item so small that it would not matter significantly. Yet we are spending literally millions of times more than we have to to obtain data that are not even statistically significantly different.


Monica said...

Let me clarify. As Brendan said, if the only purpose of the census is to get a total head count of the US population, then a census is valid. It is NOT valid for any other reason -- and those other reasons are the reasons we are all used to, which Jenn (and the Census Bureau forms themselves) adequately outlined above.

If I want to study the particular effect of a drug on liver cancer, let's say, I don't need the entire universe of liver cancer individuals in the United States to be able to determine a statistically significant effect. I randomly sample an extremely small subset of the population.

Regarding surveys, I have a great idea. Let's let for-profits, non-profits, students, etc. etc. "understand their own situations and make better decisions" by using their OWN resources to survey populations of such crucial interest to them. I'm sure they'll be able to design a much better study that would serve their interests than the time wasting, money wasting, enormous government bureaucracy that has now become the Census Bureau.

Rational Jenn said...

Thanks, Monica!

The sentence that is bothering me just at the moment is the one I quoted in the article:

Decennial sample data are out-of-date soon after they are published, about two years after the census is taken.

If a headcount for figuring out the number of Representatives is the only reason for the survey (as per that pesky Constitution), then it wouldn't even be a problem to fill it out more often than every 10 years (provided some Amendment passed). But somebody clearly believes it is okay to use all the intrusive data collected to reallocate resources.

Argh! What country IS this anyway? Would George Washington or Thomas Jefferson even recognize it?

Terry said...

Rational Jen,

Thank you for posting your thoughts regarding the American Community Interrogation along with your willingness to refuse to participate in this intrusive, presumptuous & arrogant survey. I find your position to be quite...rational.

I was similarly targeted for mandatory participation by the Census Bureau over a year ago. Instead of just filling out the form however, I did some research and put together a webpage dedicated to the interrogation at:

The site includes news articles, official documentation, commentaries, and multiple links to other webpages regarding this interrogation.

Since I've experienced the entire ordeal from start to finish, this is what you can expect over the next three months from the Census Bureau:

* At least two surveys along with various reminders will be mailed to your household during the first month of enforcement activity.

* If you don't respond to these mailings after the first month, your phone number will be forwarded to a contracted call center. Assuming they have a valid number, call center employees will attempt to contact your household multiple times during the second month of enforcement activity. You can expect phone calls any time of day or night. If you answer, they will attempt to have you complete the survey over the phone. If you refuse, they will continue to call until the month is over. Caller ID should make the phone calls easy to avoid however.

* If you make it through the second month without caving, there's a 33% chance your household will be chosen for in-house visits by a local Census Bureau field rep. This individual will most likely live in your local community. They will make multiple visits to your home during any day of the week - morning or night. If you are not home or don't answer the door, they will leave messages instructing you to call them while pointing out that your participation is 'required by law'. These attempts to interview you at home will continue for an entire month.

If after this third month of harassment you have still not filled out the survey, the Census Bureau will leave you alone and chase after easier prey.

It should be noted, the Census Bureau has no real enforcement authority itself. All it can do is forward a complaint to the Department of Justice. To date however, no one to my knowledge has been prosecuted for failure to fill out the survey. The threat of a $5,000 fine is very far-fetched and is really just a bogus attempt to scare people into participating. Title 13 only allows for a maximum $100.00 fine for refusing to answer the survey which explains why the Census Bureau & DOJ have no desire to pursue prosecution. It isn't worth their time and the Census Bureau openly admits they need voluntary cooperation for the survey to have any real utility.

Best wishes with your stance. Having survived all three months myself, it's really no big deal once you realize they're all huff and no puff. Of course, it wouldn't have mattered to me if they had prosecuted. I still would have refused to participate.

Please keep us informed as to your situation. It's important for others to see just how far unelected federal bureaucrats will go (and how many tax dollars they'll spend) to invade our homes and privacy without our consent.

Rational Jenn said...


Thank you thank you thank you for your insights! It's nice to discover so many others who were in the same place as my husband and me and resisted, too.

Please add me to your website--it's great! I'll be posting a timeline of events as they unfold here at my blog. Should be interesting!


Estaban said...

I wanted to ask how your experience with 'ACS' is going?

I recently received the, so called, survey myself...I was as mad as when I received the 2000 Census!

There needs to be more national media coverage of this. I plan to set up my camcorder and record any visits by any census workers coming to my door.

Please, let us know how your 'stand' is going.


Rational Jenn said...

Hi Estaban! Thanks for stopping by.

I'm still waiting for the phone calls to begin. Any day now.

If you want to read other posts I've written, search on the label "You're Not The Boss Of Me" to find the few others. In one of them, I talked about the specific questions we are being asked to answer.

I'm glad to know that you are taking a stand, too. And I completely agree that this needs more attention. I think your camera idea is awesome! Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Well, we survived the phone calls and several home visits...we didn't answer the door. Finally, my husband said he wanted to put an end to it and actually spoke with the census taker. He informed him we had already answered all the questions we were comfortable answering. After failed attempts to get my husband to give in, the census taker left.

Today, we received a fexex envelope (why doesn't the census bureau use the USPS???) with a letter informing us it is law, etc etc and told us to call the 'supervisor'. I did call her. I stated simply that we had, in fact, returned our survey and had answered all the questions we were comfortable answering (how many people live in the house?). She said it was never received. I told her that I did, in fact, send it and asked why she felt I should disclose any further information to them if they can't keep track of the one I already sent. She indicated that perhaps I hadn't answered enough questions to constitute a 'partial' interview, and that's why they're calling. I told her I had answered what I was comfortable with. When she indicated that it was, 'in fact' required by law, I told her that I was fully aware that the Census bureau had never fined anyone, and I truly believe that it is likely because they know their Title 13 would never stand up to a Constitutional Challenge. I also told her that I value my privacy and security, and am just the type of person who would be willing to take on such a challenge.

I never raised my voice or spoke rudely. I was very business like.

She thanked me for my time and told me it would be 'no problem' that I didn't answer the other questions.

Moral: Tell them you are aware that Title 13, as they're interpreting it, won't hold up to a Constitutional Challenge. It stumps them. :)

Anonymous said...

It is truly amazing that anyone really believes that this data is necessary or used properly. Do you need anything more than sitting in traffic for hours to know that more roads are needed in that area? You don't need census data for that. When the Senator from Alaska tries to fund a bridge to nowhere, that tells you any data collected is insignificant compared to the pork allocation power of Congress. If you really needed this info, and it would be used properly, a statistical sample is all that is necessary, and it only needs to count the number of people (which can be obtained many other ways.

Monica said...

Excellent. I feel ever better about my decision to not respond. A $100 fine I could handle. A $5000 fine would be very tough. It's nice to know that if the ACS comes, and I don't fill it out, a fine is very unlikely. And not only unlikely, that it would not hold up in court in the end, anyway. Woo hoo~

Russell Whitaker said...

My apologies to those of you here who are also posting to my own blog about the ACS: I’ve moved to a new city, am back in college, and just went heads-down for a few months. The thread “‘None of Your Business!': the American Community Survey” is back in business.

Keep up the good fight, folks!

jagill1966 said...

Thank you for posting your comments. I have apparently been sleeping longer than I thought. I only learned of this ACS survey today. I've been hitting the blogs to read everyone's comments and experiences. I've been lucky so far and have not received it. After reading what it is about and the implications, I know how I will be handling it when that time comes.

Jim said...

I got a package from the Census Bureau 2 years ago (2006) called the American Communities Survey. It was explained that this "survey" was to be used to determine things like number of day cares, toll roads, etc that were needed. Asking where did I work, when did I leave for work, what time I came home, on and on. Ten or so pages asking very personal question about me AND anyone living under my roof, family or friend. This was way beyond even the nosy questions the ten year census wants you to answer. And right on front it said federal law said I had to fill it out. All through this little pamphlet it kept saying in bold letters that I was required by federal law to answer these questions. This was NOT the Constitutionally ordered census. This thing was more like information found in a dossier of personal habits the Gestapo would have kept. I'm not exaggerating this thing. Keep in mind that this survey says you are required by federal law to answer personal questions and give personal opinions about the other people living in your house. Or someone is answering those questions about YOU if you are not the head of the house !
I blew a gasket. To make a long story short, I called, emailed and faxed Senators, Congressmen, the A.C.L.U., rights groups and anyone else I thought should know exactly how I felt about this breathtaking violation of the civil rights of me and every other citizen of this country. Because I found out that the Census Bureau was sending these out to a certain number of households THROUGHOUT EVERY YEAR BETWEEN THE REAL CENSUS UNTIL EVERY HOUSEHOLD HAD FILLED ONE OUT !!!
I also during this time called the district Census Bureau and told them I had thrown their survey in the trash, which I had kept to copy and fax to my Senators and Congressmen, letting all of them know that I refused to fill it out, prosecute me. Same thing with the representative the Census Bureau sent to my house. I let them know straight up that I was exactly the type of person to make a federal case of this if necessary.
They knew that this thing was extremely illegal. And they knew I knew, and so would anyone else who saw it. And that's the reason they don't send them out to everybody at once. They really don't want a lot of attention drawn to this brazen violation of this country's laws covering everything from personal privacy rights to using the postal service for officially sponsored intimidation and harassment to threats of illegal prosecution for failure to comply. The bureau first claimed Congress Oked it then backed off that and said it was strictly voluntary and how federal law prevented anyone but them to have or use the information. Yeah, right !! The whole design, layout and tone of the American Communities Survey was on one hand telling you how giving up this information was actually in your best interest and on the other intimidating and threating people into filling it out.
After a week or so of phone calls, emails and faxes between me, politicians and the Census Bureau, they sent me a letter saying how sorry they were at the misunderstanding, I was not required to fill it out bah, blah, blah and please forget the whole thing, of course they weren't going to prosecute me, they couldn't prosecute me, I would never ever hear anything more from them on the matter again, please leave them alone,please, please please.
I don't tell this to make myself out as a bada$$. On the contrary, I'm not. I tell this story to show from real, personal experience that politicians and government officials will lie to your face and violate any law they want to if they think you won't say or do anything about it. But if you get in their face about it and let them know YOU WILL FIGHT THEM they will leave you the hell alone. Because they reluctantly understand that under our democracy the people run the government, not the other way around.
Local, state and especially the federal government use the Census Bureau to try to collect information on it's citizens that they don't dare try to get themselves because they know it's illegal. Combine that with other records they have such as your tax returns, employment, driving, criminal etc (your beyond naive if you think they don't share those records with each other), a total stranger can know more about you than your family or best friends.
The Constitution says the population must be counted every 10 years. It only allows Congress to decide how to count our actual numbers for the purpose of determining how many Representatives a state is entitled to. It does not allow Congress or any other part of the government to use the Census Bureau to collect any other type of information on it's citizens.

Anonymous said...

I received the "announcement" letter yesterday. I should be expecting the first survey any time now. I will answer the headcount question, but that is all.

This whole "fill it out because I said so" concept really doesn't leave a good impression. My battle won't be with the Census though... it will be with my wife caving in.

Rational Jenn said...

Belated hellos to my most recent visitors! I'm so glad you have stopped by and found my comments helpful. Search by "Just Say NO to ACS" to read all of my posts about our ACS experience.

I continue to encourage everyone to resist this nonsense. Why oh why does the government need to know if you have copper plumbing or when you leave for work in the morning? THEY DON'T!

We have a right to our privacy--and we can't protect that right by complying with such blatant violations of it.


Joseph Mathew said...

To the anonymous user who posted this entry (part reproduced below) - THANK YOU - THANK YOU - THANK YOU
"Moral: Tell them you are aware that Title 13, as they're interpreting it, won't hold up to a Constitutional Challenge. It stumps them. :)"

I don't know where to start – but am in a situation similar to almost everyone who has posted on this blog about the ACS. I cannot even remember when this (phone calls/questionnaires etc….etc….) started coming to us. I really don’t remember filling out a questionnaire as intrusive as the one put up on some of the other ACS sites. Maybe I did – maybe I threw it away and that is why I started (my wife rather) receiving phone calls – many many many phone calls – from individuals identifying themselves as working for the CB and asking all sorts of personal invasive questions. The most recent invasion of our privacy started about two weeks ago – with the individual calling at all odd times of the day when my wife was (sincerely did not have the time with two kids running around) unavailable to answer – so she gave them Thursday evenings to call. But then again – you can only plan your day so much in advance – three Thursday evenings came and went and multiple phone calls from the CB, some with messages left behind and a number.

Now I am armed with the information (posted on the top of this post) about Title 13, it’s consequences and what to tell them if challenged about answering the questions.

I have never dreamt that in coming to this country in 1990, I would be subject to this kind of obnoxious invasiveness – I guess this is a result of the patriot act, the arrogance of the current administration all in the name of ‘weeding’ out potential terrorists in this country.

I would rather see my tax dollars spent on a more worthy cause…..wouldn’t the rest of you?

Joseph Mathew said...

If the person who identifies himself as Jim, could please get in touch with me at, I would greatly appreciate it.

Thank you very much.

The Wod said...

Hello all,
I received two long surveys a couple of weeks apart a couple of months back and ignored both. I was not even sure if they were legitimate, as I thought it could be someone phishing for ID theft, so I did not bother even looking into it and they soon got lost in the pile of the other mail on my table that I rarely open. Then a few days ago, a rep left a business card on my front door saying it was urgent that I call him. I ignored it. Then my girlfriend must have found one a few days later and brought it inside. Then I think I got a third one, before this weekend, when according to the card, the person showed up three times in one afternoon. Fortunately, I work on that day. I took that card and dropped it at the foot of the door, as if it had fallen and I had not seen it. How long will this person keep on trying? I nearly cracked last week, as I filled out the form but decided to check what if anything people on the net thought about it. Then I found you nice folks and did not feel as alone. Thus, I deposited my completed form in a storage box and am standing my ground as someone who does not want to share every aspect of my personal life with complete strangers.

What a colossal waste of our tax money; doesn't that person have anything better to do. I guess they don't have my phone number, so no calls (yet).

I hope they don’t catch me in the morning when I walk the dog. What have you done when you have encountered them? Do you just refuse on principle or answer only the most basic of questions and refuse the rest. Do you go as far as to ignore answering the door, even when they know you are in there from the noise inside? Has anyone sent it back with only the basics filled out, such as name, address, age…? If so, what happened? Just wondering what I can expect and for how long. As they are now visiting, does that mean they will stop bugging me after this month? Thanks a bunch for all the info. Stay strong.

Rational Jenn said...

Welcome, recent visitors! To answer The Wod's question: I refused to answer any of the questions. It's not a census year--I'll fill out the regular census in 2010.

To my knowledge, no one has been prosecuted for refusing to participate. They'll bug you for about 90 days, but if you stand your ground, they'll leave you alone after that.

Keep me posted, everyone!

Bob T. said...

Well, I guess I'm in the club now. Recieved my survey yesterday and was astounded. I fought against the personal questions in the 2000 survey and this is worse.

I feel better after reading the comments here. I know what to do. Aside from contacting my congressmen, I'm going to take their prepaid envolope and use it to send a letter letting them know the number of people living at this address, period. I will explain why that is all they will get from me.

Thanks for the encouragement!

Rational Jenn said...

Welcome, Bob T! I agree that writing your congressman is a must. I never heard back from mine, so I think I'll do it again.

And remember that 2008 is not an official census year, so they don't even really need to know the number of people in the house--not until 2010. Although I know that many people choose to respond to the ACS in this way and I believe that they are often left alone after that.

Good luck!

sovereignman said...

Here is how to have some fun with that pre-paid envelope that comes with the acs forms. Fill a box with cat shit or dog shit, 20 pounds or so, add a few bricks or rocks to it for weight, up to 50 pounds. Seal it up good and glue and tape the pre-paid envelope to it. Then drop it off at your post office. The acs people will really enjoy opening that one!! And they will pay the shipping fee for 50 pounds of cat shit/ rocks!! I do this with all kinds of postage paid envelopes, gets you taken off of that companys junk mail list real fast, of course on those I am using my real return address because I want them to know where it came from. I will be doing the same to the acs people. If you don't have the courage to do this, use a fake return address. Happy mailing!

stella said...

I'm so happy I found you! I received the first form about 2 months ago, started filling it out, answering only the questions I was comfortable with until I got to the income section. I promptly shredded the whole thing thinking it had to be an elaborate scam. Received notes on my door with threatening letters highlighting the fines incurred if I failed to complete and send in the form. Last week I received another complete census packet with the same inquisitional "survey" form with additional brochures that were designed to quell any doubts about their legitimacy. Still something nagged at me that this just can't be right. No one else I know got one. I checked on the websites they listed, which tell you absolutely nothing. Then I found your site. It is so reassuring to know that I'm not alone in refusing to comply with this b.s. and thank you to everyone who has taken the time to post their experiences and helpful tips!!!

Rational Jenn said...

Stella, welcome to the club! I applaud your decision not to participate. Your ordeal should be over from about 90 days after you first received the survey.

And I have it on decent authority that nothing will happen to you if you don't fill it out--check out the comments of my post from last Friday. A person who is affiliated with the ACS basically stated that nobody can force us to do it. As far as I know, nobody has been issued a fine for refusing, even though it's in the code.

Keep me posted!

Anonymous said...

I got my first face to face after I sent mind back with just name and age. Was informed that I am entered as a "Type A" respondent, oh well.............

Bob T. said...

Well as predicted...I got my second form. I'll place it with the first and wait for the phone calls...

It's almost kind of fun!


Anonymous said...

Update to my previous post (May 28, Anonymous). I returned the first survey with only the headcount listed on the form. (No names.) I wrote a note on the cover saying I've responded to all questions I feel comfortable with.

I received the second survey saying they had not received the first. (I expected this based on others' comments.) This month (July) we received our first call the first week. My wife told the caller we had indeed returned it. She said they would wait around and call back in 10 days if not received. I answered the phone about 7 days later when they called again. I repeated that it was returned. Caller said they would give it another week, then she would need to ask me the questions over the phone. I told her I would not answer anything I felt was personal or privacy related. She responded that she could do it without asking my name (the callers on both calls were very careful not to ask for a name, they just confirmed the address).

Since I had not given my telephone number on the form I returned (and they had it), I told the caller I was fairly certain she already had my name. She didn't respond. Said she would call back later. Via caller ID we have not answered any more of the calls. There really haven't been many though (maybe a total of 4). It's getting near the end of July, so I'm looking forward to the 33% chance of having a visit.

Anonymous said...


I live in MN and I just received this American Community Survey and was horrified of the kinds of nosey intrusive questions they were asking. I decided to pitch it. They sent me another one asking me again to fill it out..I shredded that one. Today (8/3/08) on a Sunday evening (I didn't know the government worked on Sundays) I received a nice phone call from these people asking me to call them, and they gave me a "case number" to reference. I called them, gave them the case number and proceeded to ask me if I sent in their paperwork. I told them I have no intention of answering their questions. I was then informed that by the end of the month, I would receive a visit from two of their "agents" and I told them no..I would be "arrested". At that point I hung up on them. After I regained my composure, I called them back to find out what kind of judicial power they had, and I was told by another person there that they did not have the power to arrest anyone, but that I could be techncally fined for non compliance. I told them "thanks but no thanks and ended the call with them again. To make a long story short, I have had it with this "ACS" and hope I'm done with them...stay tuned.

Warmest regards



cathy said...

Good going Ben!
The CB doesn't have the power to prosecute anyone, saying they can, waving title 13 and calling the ACS manditory is EXTORTION! The survey became manditory to improve response rates. The CB walks a fine line using imtimidation and coercion techniques to get compliance. The people who call are telemarketers who have CB contracts. The CB training program uses half-truths and lies to collect the data which will be used for social science research, marketing strategies and political pandering. I believe it has been directly responsible for "press 1 for english".
Patty Becker's aruments are the standard, whiny guilt trip excuses for invading privacy. No community needs the federal gov as a middleman for social programs. Communities should decide for themselves what is best. Gov resources are scarce due to the gross misappropriations of taxpayer funds. Patty wants to understand the entire picture of the American Community - baloney! It's not possible. The answers to the questions in many cases are a direct result of personal choices; make a different choice and the answer is different. EX.- An individual leaves for work early to avoid heavy traffic and spends the time at a coffee shop until work starts, while another person sits in that traffic.
I am capable of understanding my own situations without gov help. Those who need and want gov programs should apply for them. Those who don't want or need gov programs should be left alone.

Anonymous said...

AZ Resident August 8, 2008
Received the survey 2 month ago and chose not to respond due to the invasive questions asked. Received a second survey and did not respond. Last week someone came to my door and left a letter and a business card.
I live in a private gated community and no one has access unless they phone your residence and you let them in. However, they can follow someone else in thru the gates if they wait long enough.
Yesterday, the third knock arrived and this time the letter has my name on it and asks me to please phone them. On the back of the business card it says they are required to make contact and with an adult member and obligated to return until contact is made.....I thought I would write how many residents live here and that we are US citizens....and place it in the door for today...until I thought abut it again and "how did they know my name"..I did not give it to them.!

Decided not to answer the door or respond although I would like them to stop harassing me.
Another beautiful day in the Valley of the Sun.....

cathy said...

There are various ways to know your name. If you own a home, your name is part of the public record, which listed at your local town hall. The CB uses phonebooks. My phonebook listing is not correct for my name or address, which is what the CB used for me. I didn't answer the phone or the door. I left all the notes stuck to my door on the door until my 30 day field rep cycle was done.

Anonymous said...

I've been selected to participate in a "health survey" from the dept. of commerce??? I've had 4 home visits, met the woman once and politely told her no way am I interested in answering any of her questions, which include not only health questions but also questions about my income. Then I find a booklet left on my door the 5th time states my participation is "voluntary". I later find out the lady has asked one of my neighbors my name, if I own or rent my house, if I own the cars in my driveway, do I have kids, and do I work. And she has been spotted just driving by watching my house. After I told her no. Has anyone else experienced this persistance/stalking by an dept. of commerce agent?

cathy said...

Sorry, Anonymous, that you are being stalked because of a voluntary survey. I received a postal survey after refusing the ACS. Hopefully your neighbors didn't give out any of your info. Get the licence number and file a complaint with the police or directly with the local census office. The health survey is part of the census.

Anonymous said...

I received a survey 3 weeks ago and threw it away. I have already received a letter from Steve H. Murdock, Director at the U.S. Census Bureau. I cannot believe that the government has somehow tried to bully the American population into answering questions like these through the use of fines. I refuse to pay any fines and I will not answer the questions on this survey. Isn't it enough that they already have most of this information through tax returns, building permits, etc. I don't care if they send out the FBI, I refuse to comply with this socialistic attempt to increase the size of government. The more I look around, the more we look like a socialized country submitting to the government.

cathy said...

There are no fines, only the threat of a fine. It has been 1 year since I finished the 90 day harrassment cycle. I heard nothing from the CB after the 90 days ended. Don't worrry about the threats, no one has been fined for not answering the CB since 1960, log before this survey existed.

Anonymous said...

I received my first envelope with a business card combo on my door yesterday. No phone calls yet and with any luck won't receive any. I'm going to call the person on the card armed with the knowledge and experience from the brilliant folks who posted on this blog. You all, with the exception of socialistic Patty "I'm on the payroll" Becker, are true AMERICANS.


maryjane007 said...

Hi I was just wondering if there were any others that have been hassled by the Census Bureau since August 2008.
I have just received my second visit after having refused to answer the first two book length surveys.
I came home today to find a note taped to my apartment door saying the my response is required by law.
I am almost 60 years old, battling breast cancer alternatively and do not need this kind of hassling.
Besides its only 5 days til Christmas.
I took courage in reading how everyone here has taken a stand against this survey.

Anonymous said...

I just received this Gestapo crap from THE ACS, how dare they ask such invasive and pertinent questions and threaten American Citizens with punitive fines as a reward for declining to answer!

I grew up during WWII and have seen the damage the Nazis and Fascists inflicted on the citizen's it singled out for (Severe and grotesque) punishment for non-compliance of their rules
and this his how it starts; what is your religion, sex, race, how people living in your home, etc.
Shame on The members of Congress and The Senate for allowing this Crap to be sent to it's Citizen's.
Put me jail I am burning this piece if invasive trash.
Do not show up at my door and expect to be welcomed.I will not hide from you

Anonymous said...

I received the ACS last week, and a postcard yesterday. I'm keeping everything they send me, but they get NOTHING from me. Not my name, not the number of people living here, NOTHING.

They can suck it.

BTW, I *love* the box of cat shit idea. My cat can fill that box in a week!

Anonymous said...

Hey all,
I recieved my first ACS in November 08 and live in Southern California.
It's now January 09 and am recieving the phone calls. I eagerly await the home visits, my video camera is ready to go.
For all who posted that are in agreement with giving up your 4th amendment right to privacy and filling out the ACS: "We as American People have a Constitutional right to our Privacy". "We have the right to disagree with our government and say something about it".
This survey is nothing but "Big Brother" watching you. My local government already has the info it needs to ask the Federal Government for monies for the new roads and schools. The Federal Government does NOT need to know "if I can bathe myself". (this is an actual question on the ACS.)

Plus it's not an official Census Year and per the Consitition when it is a Census year (2010) the only info you need to give is the number of people living in your home.

I will refuse to give up my Constitutional Rights! When we fear our Government, we fear being free.

Anonymous said...


January 29, 2009

I received the American Community Survey about a month ago. This compulsory 28 page document published and administered by the U.S. Census Bureau clearly demonstrates the need to ask the question " Who is out-of-control in our government?". Perhaps, more importantly, "Who is in control, outside of our government?" I decided, almost immediately, not to comply. A little investigation confirmed my suspicion. Namely, there are countless others of you out there who share a common concern about this interrogative survey as well as the motives of our government. I say " our government" because I still keep close to my heart the memory of a government and an America I supported while serving in the Vietnam war. A time when the enemy was perceived as a threat against our great nation and not from within. I received a second ACS just last week with a letter that hinted vague threats. This appears to follow the pattern described by most of you who have already experienced the ordeal. My course of action is best described by the following conviction.

It is the duty of every U.S. Citizen to practice civil disobedience when the government exceeds its authority.

The U.S. Constitution in Article 1, Section 2, Clause 3 states; "The actual enumeration shall be made within three years after the first meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent term of ten years." This gives the government authority to conduct a census every ten years by enumeration. Any demand placed upon a U.S. Citizen beyond that provision is unconstitutional. A paper history of the U.S. Census records throughout the life of our nation plainly exhibits the simple process of enumeration as the only method permitted to obtain a "head count" and only at an interval of ten years. The ACS far exceeds the intent of the U.S. Constitution for the purpose of congressional redistricting and allocation. The questions are extremely intrusive into our private lives and a blatant attempt to extract vital personal information that cannot be obtained by any other means. Also, it is my view that this campaign endorsed by our legislative body, in part or whole, is being used as a test ground to determine how far the American people will bend and stay pliable under the control of a central government. Summarizing my intent;

1) I will not comply with the demands of a government that has exceeded its authority.
2) I will not pay any fine.
3) I am, bold words but spoken true to my nature, willing to be imprisoned but not subjugated.

In doing so, I will practice civil disobedience for the first time in my life. Given the safeguards written into the U.S. Constitution by our founding fathers and the love of country they entrusted with us, I can do no other.

Mark Gordon

PostScript - I would be more than pleased to provide a PDF copy of the American Community Survey to anyone who is unfamiliar with its contents and intent.

Anonymous said...

I join this community of bloggers with the same lament...ignored the first and second ACS submission...received the threatening call about "2 officials with laptops" coming to knock on my door to get this info! This is outrageous and very UN-American of our officials to allow this level of intimidation. I am in no position to pay a $5000 fine but I'm not going down easy on this. My husband may cave but I'll do my best to keep his anxiety level at a minimum as I fight this huge intrusion into our collective privacy. Please, Rational Jenn, let us know if anyone truly is penalized for non-compliance. I'm not feeling very compliant at the moment. Thanks.

Rational Jenn said...

Welcome to everyone who has stopped by! It's so encouraging to me that so many others think the ACS is a completely over-the-top invasion of the privacy of private citizens.

ANON--as far as I know, nobody has been fined or been in trouble otherwise for refusing to participate in the ACS. *I AM NOT A LAWYER, SO THIS IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE.*

BUT--to the best of my knowledge, the only thing the Census Bureau can do is refer a case to the DOJ for prosecution. Then it's up to the DOJ to decide to pursue it. And, to the best of my knowledge, this has NOT happened.

I honestly felt pretty sure nothing would actually happen to me and my family when we refused. My husband and I evaluated the risk and decided to take it. You must do what you are comfortable with, of course.

I'd be interested in what you choose to do. And let me know if you find that my information is incorrect! Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I tossed the first survey. I kept the second as a reminder of what happens when the uneducated rise to power. I have survived the 90 day harassment cycle. Although the CB threatened a fine between $100 and $5,000, I refused to participate in this socialist program.

I will not help the government to spend its porkulus dollars "more efficiently."

Did the threat of a $5,000 fine make me nervous? Only a little. First of all, the CB can't issue a fine. They'd have to go to court, and get a judge to determine the fine (between $100 - 5,000). The minute the CB brings this to court, I have standing in federal court to question the constitutionality of the ACS.

Check these out:
This writ spells out the unconstitutional nature of the 2000 Census long form. The same arguments apply to the ACS as well. Further, the ACS is a monthly survey not used for congressional apportionment.
This is the decision in Schulz v IRS. Although this is a tax case, it still applies to the CB. Schulz went to court to contest an IRS summons. The Judge found that because the IRS had not commenced a proceeding to enforce the summonses, Schulz was under no threat of consequence for refusal to comply and, until such time as the IRS chose to pursue compulsion in a United States district court, no case or controversy existed.

The judge further found that if the IRS did attempt to compel Schulz to produce testimony and documents named in the summonses, the enforcement procedure described would provide Schulz with adequate opportunity to contest the requests.

In a nutshell - the CB, until it files a motion in court, has no authority to compel anyone to fill out the survey.

Anonymous said...

These "surveys" and other forms of intimidation from the Feds HAVE TO STOP! To put the Census in the White House is an outrage--people should be up in arms. Furthermore, this B.S. about digitalizing our medical records and putting them into a huge federally run database is even more invasive than the Census! It seems that the Feds are like VAMPIRES when it comes to stripping us of all our privacy and self-sovereignty. We have only one choice if we want to remain self-determined individuals: REFUSE to cooperate. Give them NOTHING. The ONLY ones benefiting from this cr*p are the POLITICOS and the DATAMINERS. The rest of us are being vampirized and we simply must RESIST.

Anonymous said...


I got one too. This is unconstitutional.

The U.S. Constitution in Article 1, Section 2, Clause 3 states; "The actual enumeration shall be made within three years after the first meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent term of ten years." This gives the government authority to conduct a census every ten years by enumeration. Any demand placed upon a U.S. Citizen beyond that provision is unconstitutional. A paper history of the U.S. Census records throughout the life of our nation plainly exhibits the simple process of enumeration as the only method permitted to obtain a "head count" and only at an interval of ten years.

They did this in Nazi Germany to the Jews.

Obama the Messiah?

Anonymous said...

To Patty Becker,

are you dense? The census is only supposed to ask for a head count.

NAZI Germany ring a bell? It's people like you that are the sheep in all societies and look what happens. Read history.

Dozens of examples of helping us? Give me a break. They ask what time we go out, if we're fertile, if we bathe, if we're mentally ill.

You are brain-dead.

Anonymous said...

I took my census form, used my worst handwriting, in the section where they asked about marriage I wrote I am gay, you forgot us. Then I put it in the bathroom sink and soaked, now it is drying.

Am I breaking the law by using terrible unreadable handwriting?

I can get around the soaking, by saying it must have gotten wet, but I mailed it dry.

Anonymous said...

Oh...and I suggest as many people call the census bureau as possible. Is there a way we can organize a call the census bureau week? Just flood the lines.

Anonymous said...

I wrote to the census bureau and told them to f off!

If anyone comes to my door and bangs, I will pound back. I might even call the cops on them. I also thought I might tell them that I'm an illegal immigrant.

Anonymous said...

what happens if you open your door and tell them to kiss your ass? they have no power to touch you or arrest you, right?

I would almost like to be arrested, to make a big deal out of this, and to get on the news. Then and only then will we be heard.

Is swearing at one of these Nazis a crime?

To the poor woman with cancer:

You are already fighting for your life - DO NOT LET THESE GOONS INTIMIDATE YOU. If I had cancer, I would deck them.

Anonymous said...

I recieved this survey also,the first one i ignored,then I got a second one,well if I fill it out & lie about everything & how will it help anyone because a lot of questions they ask are personal & no one needs to know any of it.
I want to know why the question of what time you leave for work & how long it takes to get there? why are they stalking me or planning to rob my when i am not home???
It doesn't say you will get fined if you lie???? Just if you don't fill it out right?

Anonymous said...

Not to get on a presidential argument but to the person who wrote "Obama the Messiah?", I've got news for you, the ACS has been around years before Obama even thought about running for office.

Apparently I received my scheduled ACS documentation sometime in early Feb. 2009. Unfortunately, or fortunately, I wasn't living in my house at that time. I was living in a different city and just a couple of weeks ago moved into this one.

Never hearing of the ACS before I have received numerous notes/flyers on my porch/door from my friendly nazi officer stating that he must get in contact with me.

After viewing the text of the ACS online I decided that I have no plans to give some stranger at my door some personal info.

so I called the CB and asked for another paper survey to be sent and they told me that my "case was closed" a month ago.

Someone please tell me why the idiot who shows up at my door when I'm not home keeps coming by?

I'll gladly fill out the form to my comfort level but I won't be telling some strange person over the phone or at my door my personal info. who's to say he doesn't go "rogue" and steal my info for himself.

Really, does a perfect stranger need to know if I bathe myself? I'm half tempted to tell him that I hire a hooker once a week because I can't do it myself and I'm afraid of the water.


Anonymous said...

to Patty Becker,

don't intimidate us. we don't care if you have an entire picture of America. The picture is this:

leave us alone and go into the picture of 12 million illegals and the drug cartels falling over our borders - give THEM the survey - then see what happens, stupid girl.

Anonymous said...

I am currently being harassed by these people. First the numerous phone calls, after two forms to be filled out which I threw away.

And now a woman showing up at my door, that caught me off guard. I basically told her to get lost, and she was going to talk with her supervisor. Told her to go for it, as she is wasting her time, as I will not fill out this stupid invasion of privacy form.

Today I received a letter from the District office, and it has her name and telephone number on this letter, along with threats of being fined.

Being a geneologist I searched her name….I found her address, how old she is, her birth month, and how many places she has lived prior to her current location, and her husband’s name.

For the record, I would never ever use this info for any malicious intent…the point being how would she like it if she knew that I found all this private info on the internet about her? And, she wants me to give out all my personal info when the Census Bureau since 2003 has lost 217 laptop comuters, 46 portable data storage devices, and 15 handheld devices.

And according to the U.S. Census Bureau they protect your information…Yeah right????

And now I need some help, where is that info about the statistics about how many people do not comply. It was a study done, and the CB used that info to try and get those that don’t comply to comply.

Anybody know? TIA

cathy said...

To find the statistics on the % of responders, you have to do some extensive research. The CB doesn't like this info out for 2 reasons: 1st, it give leverage to get responder to fill out the survey. 2nd, it hides the truth from the data users, who depend on the accuracy of the data for their research papers. The CB also uses various methods of data manipulation and imputation. Most of this info I found in books written by data users and CB statistical methodology papers. Further, if a field rep can get 5 data points from a responder, the survey is considered answered. So by talking to or being seen by a rep and seeing the exterior of the residence, many survey questions could be answered by the rep. I'm sure I could pick any residence at random an figure out the answers to many of the questions. Combine that with a quick trip to the local townhall, I could get more info which is already in the public record. The ACS is also a screening tool to find "targeted individuals" (ex. elderly, disabled, very large families, etc.) so that more "voluntary" surveys can be sent. Various groups get to submit questions to the congressional subcommittee for future surveys. The question on marital history was added to the 2008 ACS because a group wanted to study marriage trends. Social, behavioral and economic scientists constantly lobby congress to broaden the privacy invasion so as to continue their research using us as their test subjects. Occasionally, one of these twits will post some flimsy reason for why the info is soooooo important. Remember, your tax money is funding a government extortion ring to invade your privacy so that social scientists will remain empoyed and politician can pander to their electorate for votes.

Rational Jenn said...

Cathy, you rock!

Anon: just remember that they can only threaten. There's no teeth to their threats. They'd have to give your file over to the DOJ for prosecution. It's been a while since I've checked, but last I had, not one file had been referred to DOJ. (I'm not a lawyer and this is not legal advice, just what I've been able to find. I think they rely on scare tactics to force compliance.)

Hold strong and don't let them intimidate you!

cathy said...

Thanks Jenn, you rock too!

Anonymous said...

I love this blog!

As required by the US Constitution, I sent in my first Survey a month ago filling in only head count info. I never received anything after that, no second survey, no letters, no phone calls.

Now I am currently being harrassed by a Mr. Bolton, Lead Field Represenative for the U.S Census Bureau. He's an older gentleman in his mid to late 60's. He's official looking, dressed in a expensive suit, probably has a least 2 flushing toilets, copper pipes throughout his $150,000 dollar home and is quite proud of flashing his little lanyard laced CB ID card. ( OOOOOOOh it's so pretty! )

This Sunday evening while my family ate supper, Mr. Bolton arrived, driving a black Jeep Liberty he blocked in my vehicles. He crossed my yard, not using my sidewalk and approched my rear deck at which I met him.

Mr. Bolton arrived to do his work at 6:15pm

He informed me that I was selected by the CB to participate in the ACS survey, and presented me with an official letter from the bureau. He insisted we go into my home and begin with the interroga... err I mean survey.

I refused telling him I had already mailed one and he was NOT entering my home. In addition I did not have the time, nor would I sit 35 minutes to take it verbally, and that I was going inside to finish my supper with my family.

He said he would call upon on us again and I pointed to him the quickest way to exit my property.

Mr Bolton left his work at 6:21pm

The next morning at 8:15am, I received a phone call from my stalker, oh sorry... Mr Bolton. He told me he was on his way over to do the survey. I told him NO, I am going to work and that before I agreed to answer any questions he needed to pick up and fill out a form I had for him.

Read and print the form

I had him meet me at my workplace, of which I own and run. I handed him the form, He looked shocked as he looked over the 3 pages. I wish everyone could have seen it =)

I told him I would need it completely filled out before I could go any further with his demands on the survey. He gave me an ACS brouchure and pointed out that I needed to Google Title 13 indicated within the inside cover. I told him I had already " Googled it" and read it, and was aware of the info. But I was still not going to do anything until he filled out my survey.

He insisted that I must have a problem personal security and informed me how safe my private information was. I asked him, did you tell that to the thousands of people whos info was stolen from the 247 laptops the the CB carlessly lost?

Read more about lost laptops

He studdered and said, oh yes, that is true.

He then informed me he would have to fax my form the Detroit office, I told him he should do that and that the door was right behind him and it open outward.

I have not heard anything else as of today. I will post more in a follow up soon. I really don't think he will be back and I know he won't be returning my survey. ;-)

I wonder if I can fine him $100?

Anonymous said...

There was a great link earlier, but it forgot the www. Here is the full correct link. Print this out and give it to the CBers who visit.

Anonymous said...

I've got my Public Servant already for Mrs. Dondaldson when she comes to harass me again.

And, to LMAO even further the first time she showed up in my driveway, she had a Handicapped sign hanging from her rear-view miror. She obviously is clueless to the law in our State. It is against the law to drive with anything hanging from your rear view mirror. I will so kindly remind her of that, if it is still hanging there.

Anonymous said...

Received forms and phone calls. Now down to attempts at interviews. I'm exercising my right to remain silent...

Have you seen buried down in this statute that the CB is encouraged to hire their extra workers from the "welfare to work" force?

To me, that says two things: 1) Most of the people pounding on our doors are just trying to do a job - they aren't the bad guys in this; and 2) those are the LAST people I want to be giving very personal private information to. Who knows who they will be working for (or with) next week?

Just think about it: I give this person at my door information about where I work and when I leave the house and when I get home. I also give all kinds of information about how well-to-do I might be. Two months later my house is burglarized. What evidence would there be that my ACS interviewer talked to an "associate"? Even if the CB can pay lip service to keeping data private, there is NO WAY they can protect the information you verbally provide to a stranger at your door.

Anonymous said...

I am a little surprised that no one has thought to give them a "bill" for your services. Next time they show up, collect all of the info on them you can, then get a notarized bill for their wasting your time. (If they can threaten you with out due process, why can't you do the same.) Make them PERSONALLY responsible. There is an old axiom that says something to the effect of, people only threaten you with what scares them most.

Stand up for your rights, push back, and never look back.

Anonymous said...

Yes I have my American Community Survey. I just got angrier with each invasive question I read.
What possible value is it for the government to know how many toilets are in my home? Is there to be a shortage? Maybe an allocation?
I can bathe myself just fine Uncle Sam thank you, but you don't need to know this.
When 2010 comes around I will be happy to tell you what you need to know. The answer is 2. And how can you say this survey is anonomous? do you not ask for my name and date of birth?
I say go right ahead and send your goons. Here is what I will tell them. As an American citizen I value my rights, the one I most value is my right to privacy. I consider it my civil duty to not answer these invasive questions and protect that right.

Anonymous said...

I received my ACS survey in January, and after reading this blog (and a few other valuable ones), I wanted to share what worked for me.

I saved both copies of the survey they sent, and just let them sit. When I received my first phone call (in February), I answered it, talked for minute to the very nice man on the other end, and finally said, "I do not believe your interpretation of the Constition will stand up to legal challenge. Please consider this my first, second, and third hard refusal to comply with your survey & get on to the next step, because that's exactly what my answer will be next--and every--time."

(I'd read in their own literature that they have a set number of refusals they have to hear before they escalate's been a while & I may have the number wrong, but at the time, I knew it cold & said it right... I also threw in a Section number or something WRT the Constitutional authority for surveys, but I've forgotten that since.)

That was the last thing I ever heard from the ACS. No home visits, no further phone calls, nothing.

Don't be scared of these goons. DO NOT roll over & 'behave' because of the empty threats of some bullies, even with the USGov't name behind them. Know your rights and USE them, folks.

Anonymous said...

I am so angry as I type this.

I am being harassed in my own home by the American Consumer Survey. In fact, this monstrosity is an identity theft waiting to happen. I refused to mail back the completed form and was "visited" by an over-enthusiastic census bureau employee who dropped in unannounced and demanded that I answer these questions. I refused flat out and told her that I would pay the $100 fine mentioned in the book. As she was parked illegally on a neighbor's front yard, said neighbor came up told her to move her car. My husband escorted her out of our driveway and on the way, she managed to wheedle his cell phone number out from him. Today, we get a threatening letter addressed to my husband personally, as opposed to "RESIDENT" from the Census Bureau!!! The personal address of my husband and the threats contained in it worry me. I suppose they looked him up from the phone records. So, now, they know his name, his address AND his phone number!!!

I would like to know how to handle this interrogation. Surely the 4th Amendment protects me from unreasonable search and allows me to be safe in the privacy of my own home? The letter CLEARLY states that the woman will be visiting us again. What can I say to ensure that she will NEVER show up at our door again?

Please help.

cathy said...

Just relax. Nothing will happen if you do not comply. I has been almost 2 years since I got mine. I had the full 90 days of mailings, phone calls and home visits. No one has been fined since the 1960's. I didn't respond to the survey in any way. There is no law which requires you to read your mail, answer your phone or open your door. Technically this is extortion. Tell them to get a warrant!

Rational Jenn said...

Anon--I agree. Nothing will happen. The ACS is all bark and no bite. If they show up again, just politely refuse. They will give up about 90 days after they sent you your original form.

This scenario/90 day process has been repeated over and over again from what I've seen in the 18 months since we were introduced to the ACS. They are trying to intimidate people into giving this information. Just keep saying NO and they will leave you alone.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Jen & Cathy,

Thank you for responding. The field rep called my husband again and demanded that he respond to the survey or "face consequences". She also mentioned that she cannot wait "much longer" and that our "deadline" for answering these questions is Tuesday!! WTH????

I do have a question - since the letter is addressed to my husband (who wants to give in!), can I talk to the field rep and tell her to buzz off, instead? I have a feeling that she will visit us over the weekend and will also stalk us at least until Tuesday.

Since he is getting ready to cave in - he does not have a SINGLE assertive bone in his body - I want to step in and refuse on his behalf. This may be a stupid question but do I have the right to answer on HIS behalf and prevent HIM from disclosing personal info about OUR family?

I have a feeling that when she does show up, she will insist on talking to him, rather than to me, and I wish to know if I can respond on his behalf, even if the bureau is now demanding answers from him specifically?



cathy said...

You may refuse for the 2 of you. The CB expects that one person should respond for the entire household, thereby violating the privacy rights of the other residents. It can be quite intimidating to stand up to these CB threats since we are not used to civil disobedience. These questions are a violation of the Constitution. The CB was given the right to put "mandatory" on the survey to increase response rates with the stipulation that no one would be fined. The gov really couldn't fine us all without a public outrage - there are just too many of us and a court challenge would end this survey. If you do cave and answer the questions, the CB could contact you with other surveys. The best way to deal with them is to either tell them to get lost or to ignore them and let the 90 days pass. The CB field reps need to move on to the next group of nonresponders. Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann supports the right not to answer the questions and states that we only need to answer the enumeration question on the 2010 census. The ACS is not the true census.

Anonymous said...

Hi Cathy,

I really want to wring my husband's neck. Why would he give the government thug aka field rep his PHONE NUMBER???

Cathy, do you know what would happen if we don't respond by the Tuesday "DEADLINE"? Will the woman simply "move on" to the next sucker?



cathy said...

They create these deadlines to scare you. They make it appear that they will turn your file over for legal action. They might have a refusal specialist contact you to tell you how important it is comply. The way it works it first they try guilt - your community needs this info for schools, roads and you wouldn't want to cheat your community out of funds? Next they will try the - require by law stuff. Last, they try the title 13 fine stuff. The ACS is used as a screening tool for the gov to locate people who qualify for gov programs. The field reps are trained to wear down people so that they get what they want. It is both scary and annoying to be harassed by the field reps. They will go away and life will be normal again. You will be fine.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Cathy. Right after I posted here, I happened to check our cell phone and found a LONG voice mail from the field rep - going on for FIVE MINUTES - about how 'IMPORTANT' it is for us to complete the survey, how MUCH our community needs our help and assistance and how quickly our DEADLINE is approaching etc etc etc.

If she does show up, then I am going to tell her that there are two adults and two kids in our household and that I exercise my right to remain silent with respect to the rest.

I posted this elsewhere as well and one respondent told me to do my civic duty!!! I am speechless.

BTW, I mentioned this at another forum as well - I am especially angry about the probing questions into the physical and psychological health, marital status, race and the IQ level of the residents of the household. The fact that these questions are followed by others that demand to know the fertility status of all the females living in that household makes me even more uneasy. Does anyone else see a sinister undertone here?

Is it just me or does this sound eerily like questions that would be asked by a Eugenics program in N@zi Germany that is specifically set up to control the 'breeding' of certain sections of the population?

The more I think about it, the more uneasy and creeped out I am. Please tell me I'm just being paranoid.


cathy said...

The questions for the ACS are requested by various groups wishing to study the public or to find people belonging to their racial group. A large amount of the stimulus money has gone to fund these research projects. The college major question was added this year by the NIH wanting to locate science and engineering majors; the marital history question was added last year (requested by group studying marriage and family) along with the have insurance question. Behind every question is a group chomping at the bit to get info on the public which they can't without the CB help. Businesses can purchase the data to then look for marketing targets. A company selling audio books may like to target high income people with long commutes. All elderly are targeted along with large families and hispanics. Social and behavioral sciences were developed by the CB as a way to have permanent year round employees. The CB has spent lots of time over many decades developing and testing survey questions.

Anonymous said...

I have received my 2nd package now..
nothing nasty yet. My phone number is unlisted otherwise I am sure they would be calling.
Personally I don't care how important some think this questionaire is. I find the questions to be way too personal and private. This questionaire is by no means anonymous.
Odd a friend went to a new doctor who spent more time asking many of these same questions than her medical history. She asked him if he was working for the government and told him these questions were none of his business. The fact is that this information or most of it is already available but is not shared with the department of commerce because it would violate privacy laws. What info is voluntarily given is exempt from privacy laws. No volunteers here.


Anonymous said...

No volunteers here, either. Sneaky folks.. mandating us to give up our privacy and then stating that 'volunteered info' is exempt from privacy laws.


Eric said...

Hello, I just ran accross this forum... I've been doing much research myself. It seems that I am in "phase 3" of their operation.

We first recieved the notice that we were going to recieve a survey, then we recieved it a few days later. Followed by a 2nd and 3rd. Luckily we have no landline, so therefore reaching us by phone was not possible moving us direction into the 3rd phase.

About 3 weeks after the survey's showed up were started seeing notices left in our door. One was actually left in our mailbox (illegal). I did not call their number as I know that they can retrieve your number even if you have caller ID blocked. Today they finally dropped by when I was home. I heard the knocks. My girlfriend pleaded me not to answer but I'm not about to be a prisoner in my own home.

It was everything I read from everyone's posts I've seen. I started off our conversation with asking her where she lives, what times she goes/leaves work, if she had been pregnant recently... you get the idea. She didn't even bat an eyelash and dodged EVERY SINGLE question. "All Day every day.." then went on accusing me of being ignorant and uninformed... telling me if I went to their website it would explain everything. I reitterated to her that I had been to their website, had done enough research to combat her questions. After 10 minutes of arguing she said she wasn't going to waste any more time, that she was marking me down as refusal to cooperate and that she would make sure that this was taken to the next level.

That was when I asked her if she was the same lady leaving notes in my mailbox. Her response was "yes... umm, NO. I did not leave it in your mailbox, but taped it to the front. It must've been the mailman that put it in there." Luckily my father has been employed by the post office for nearly 30 years and I informed her that she has ZERO authority to touch my mailbox, attach anything to it. To further my point, I explained how it was very strange that our daily paper is always right by our mailbox yet has never been "placed inside by the mailman" in the 2 years I've lived here. Her only response was that the postman and her all have the same bossman so what can she say.. at that point she was in full retreat.

One of the pecilur things she said though when I explained how intrusive the questions were. I didn't have to fill out the survey with my name. "Use John Doe" for all I care, just fill it out. Yet the survey clearly states that you must answer ALL questions truthfully and that is the first question. Technically she's giving advise that will get me fined.

Bottom line, I believe this is all idle threats. However I will be going to the postal service to see what they say about her leaving solicitations with no postage. Hopefully after this visit this will be the last of them.

For those still in question of what to do. This is a RANDOM SURVEY. A random sample has zero use when it comes to a census unless they are now taking the census by only going to 1 in x amount of households. Second, I told the lady that this is not addressed to me, but to resident. It belongs in the trash with all the credit card offers and other junk mail. Third, it is still a non-census year. Another tidbit I ran into is that these census workers get paid by response results... translating into they are salesmen trying to get results. I felt compelled to write this out here to give a voice to those of us opposing this.

Anonymous said...

On the Census Bureau own website they claim they do not share with other gvernment agencies.

Yet, on the actual Guide they send out, (page 16. last page)under:

"The American Community Survey will be the source of summarized data THAT WE MAKE AVAILABLE TO FEDERAL, STATE, AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS, (notice the (s)for plural), AND ALSO THE PUBLIC.

What, the PUBLIC! How stupid do they think the average person is? If we all wanted the public to know our personal business, then it wouldn't be either personal or confidential!

Yet they claim all your private information is STRICKLY CONFIDENTIAL! They are either stupid or corrupt, because their right hand desn't know what the left hand is doing. THAT IS SO SCARRY!!!!!

And your answers to all those private questions would have every government and public business salavating, because you are pre qualified for every scam that comes down the pike. You say your on a No call list. Sorry, you freely gave out that information your self.

Oh yes, don't forget they also said they would also use your answers to compare with other info you previously provided . WHAT?
Well that has to be a no brainer. Apparently they are already compliling a file on everyone and comparing date with previous answers you have already given to Credit card, Insurance, medical, mortage or loan companies etc..

Just read their web sites or the statements from previous posters that give the actual code number, they claim they can fine or imprison you for if you don't answer, and then compare.

Like a $100 dollars for every unanswered question, but $500 dollars if you answer incorrectly.

Now how would they know that. Because they just admitted they are COMPARING with info they already have. And are now asking more and more personal questions than you would freely tell your most trusted friend.


Read some of the comments others have actually experienced before.., and you'll soon see this is harassment, duress and threats to which no law abiding American should tolerate. If they persist to continually phone you when your on a no call list that is harassment. If they repeatedly come unannounced and bother you at your home and threaten you, is this the new America, where we send the military to defend the rights of others in foreign lands, while the Constitution Rights of their families at home are being taken away?

I did census in previous years, and what was absolutely required to know was the number of people in each household and their ages. Yes, there were additional questions, but that was volentary.

And if they now claim this American Community Survey is needed for better schools, highways, or job employment, then what have all our local, state. and federal officials been smoking that they don't see what's even on the local, state, and federal news etc. since they already gave away our jobs, left millions of people go homeless, and already lowered the standard of living for most Americans that are still lucky enough to have a job.

And then we are to believe this intrusion of our privacy is for our betterment. GET REAL! Who are they kidding? And now to try and take our diginty to think we believe this latest Smoke Screen while they waste hundreds of millions more by subcontracting your personal information that will neither remain personal or to your benefit.

Say good bye to America you once new!

Try and have a nice day.

Anonymous said...

I've enjoyed reading your blog on the ACS. We are at the end of our miserable government harrassment phase. Ha-ha. A man came over for the 3rd time yesterday and my husband talked with him and the man admitted that there will be no fine. He asked my husband if he disliked the government. What a buffoon. So stick to your guns out there. They will not prosecute you.

Lee said...

I got the survey in early December. Sent back the second one with a note that the answer to the enumeration question was below. Put the date and filled out "human" in the racial category question for every person. Left everything else blank.

Then I white-label taped over the bar-coded area to make them do some extra work and mailed it back.

I'm now fully engaged in phase 2 and soon to move on to phase 3 I'm sure. There has already been someone looking at the house from the street.

One thing another person wrote about a non-listed number being likely non-reachable. Well, I'm in that category and yet I still have gotten at least a dozen phone calls from 4 or 5 different area codes. Plus some "unavailable" numbers as well. I wonder if it's faked or if there are that many call centers actually involved. Thanks to Verizon no doubt. They seem to be an extra arm to the Feds lately.

Whatever the case is, I plan to give them the "Public Servant Questionnaire" form if they have the nerve to confront me. After reading the all the comments, I just may answer the next phone call and tell them to consider this the hard no numbers 1 thru infinity and move on to the next round.

My wife is the one who has little nerve, but I hope to short circuit any contact of her.

We'll see how this one plays out soon.

cathy said...

There are multiple call centers. The CB contracts out the work. There are also the local CB offices which call and field reps. The CB training is designed to wear individuals down. It ends as quickly as it starts. The CB does make more call or visits as the end of the month approaches. It will be over before you know it.

Paul said...

I have read several posts regarding the Public Servant's Questionnaire, with the idea being to give this to the Census worker who is administrating the ACS. It looks great, and I imagine the CB person wouldn't fill it out, BUT, I've also read that you need to request they fill this PSQ out in your presence, and if they take the time to fill it out, you would then be obligated to answer the ACS for them! Is this a better chance to take than just saying No? It doesn't sound like you can do both. Necessary to get them to comply with the PSQ, is the understanding that you aren't refusing the ACS. I like the thought of handing this form to a CB worker, but wouldn't want them to fill it out and then get on to their real business of getting my information?!

Anonymous said...

Please be aware that you have a duty(not to be confused with a right)to all Americans...past, present and future, to rebell against this arrogant disregard for the law of this land. You are required to state the number of people in your household. PERIOD. I have not recieved one of these surveys yet but I will not respond to mailings or phone calls. Personal visits by federal employees to my home will be met with this questionare before any other information is released. If they refuse to fill it out or leave any part blank then I have a DUTY to refuse to answer any questions. I will sit idle no more. Peace.

jeanette said...

I discovered we had just received our ACS when I heard my husband cussing at it. We're both in our late seventies; I'm Christian and have always tried to obey the laws of the land; but I'm not stupid. Something is very wrong about ACS and We're obeying our gut feeling not to comply. We've weighed the possible consequences against betraying our good sense. Anybody know a good lawyer who would take this to the Supreme Court if necessary?

Anonymous said...

Just a follow up. I received the ACS back in june. Read it became infuriated and tossed it in the trash. Of course I received a second one and ignored it. Throughout August not a day passed without a call often 2 and toward the end of the month 3 sometimes 4 or 5. Funny they got my unlisted phone number..anonymous?? think not. They do show upon caller ID so the calls were easy enough to avoid. I figured they would start pounding on the door in September. I gave my daughter strict orders to not answer the door. We did receive a couple cards stuck in the door but they gave up. Haven't heard a peep from them since. Best strategy seems to be just managing to avoid them.

SuzyQ said...

Glad I found this blog! We received our 2nd ACS in the mail today, complete with reminders of its mandatory-ness and threats of fines. I almost caved, but then my common sense took hold and I started googling.

I think we're in phase 2, based on some of the funny numbers showing up on caller ID.

I've saved the PSQ, and we'll keep a copy by the door just in case we unwittingly open it to a census worker.

Good grief. I can't believe this is happening in the USA :(

Maura said...

I was appalled at the questions on the ACS when I first rec'd it about a month ago. I had to really search to find the limited number of web sites like this whereby other angry people have voiced their opinions and offered help in dealing with the ramifications of refusing to participate. I can't believe there aren't more people up in arms about this. It's also incredible that these "agents" have access to unlisted phone numbers and cell phone numbers. This is NOT public information. I pay a fee to keep my phone number private. I rec'd a second copy of the ACS a couple weeks ago. If I start getting phone calls I plan to change my phone number and/or drop my land line altogether. I also plan to post No Trespassing signs on the front and back doors. I wrote to my congressional representatives and only rec'd a response from one of them. He suggested I voice my concerns with the Census Bureau and listed their 1-800 number. He and those that did not respond will not be getting my vote next election!

I will post updates of any future encounters with the ACS and hope others do also. As I was driving through a not so nice part of the city, I noticed signs posted on some of the corners advertising for census worker jobs. So what kind of people do you think they are hiring???

Resident Apt.1 said...

The sensless bureau states that twenty-five percent of people who receive the form do not return it. They also said that the non-return rate was connected to race. Make of that what you will. But, the fact remains that twenty-five percent of people do not return them. The bureau is only allowed to contact you at your home six times. However, they are allowed to go around your neighborhood and ask your neighbor questions about you. Yes, amazing isn't it? But the point remains that twenty-five percent of people do not return them. I am one of them. I got one last year. I had several go-arounds with workers and supervisors from the sensless bureau. I finally told them to put me on their Refusal List. She said, "Well, give me your name and I'll put you on the list." When I stopped laughing I said," No, all you need to put on the list is this address." That was last year. I never heard from them again. The Census Bureau is in way too much financial hot water with all the screw ups to start up a fine or court case that will certainly receive an amazing amount of media coverage. Use your conscience when choosing your course of action but know this: You have options.
Sign me,
Resident Apt.1

Resident Apt.1 said...

You asked, "So what kind of people do you think they're hiring." Well, although I did not return my ACS form, and had some run-ins with supervisors I also realized that with the unemployment rate what it is and with people trying to save their homes from foreclosure I know that some very good people will take a less-than-desirable job to save their homes and families. However, the census bureau is having a hard time filling the jobs. They don't have enough people. Even with the unemployment rate so high people are not taking the census jobs.
The initial train a worker receives comes across as very positive andf the pay is not too shabby. What happens is that the worker gets out into the field and realizes what is going on. Iknow because on one of the other censuses I went through the training and worked in the field for three weeks before I just couldn't keep knocking on people's doors and asking them a multitude of personal questions so I quit.

Maura said...

Res Apt 1, Does each census worker get 6 visits? Since May 1st, I've had 4 different people from the census bureau visit my home...2 of them have visited multiple times. This evening 2 new ones visited within 10 minutes of each other...which makes me wonder if my address might have been given to any and all census workers who might feel lucky. Maybe they've been offered a bonus if any of them come back with bounty hunters. The 2 who visited this evening went to my next door neighbor's house when we didn't answer our door. They left there within 30 neighbors don't know anything about us. The visits have always been between 6PM and 8PM and always preceeded by a phone call in which no message is left on my answering machine. I don't have caller ID so I can't prove it's them...they probably block their number anyway. Can't believe this is happening in America. What happened to our right to privacy?

Anonymous said...

I admit that I had never even heard of the American Community survey until I received a letter last week (addressed to "Resident") stating I had been selected to complete it.

When I got the form in the mail yesterday, I read it over and was was shocked at how detailed and personal the questions were! Why does the government need to know when I leave for work or if I have a 2nd mortgage or how many bathrooms? What do any of these questions have to do with being counted for the census!??

On the front of the form I wrote that believe this form is invasive, intrusive and unconstitutional. I recently filled out and returned the regular, LAWFUL census form and I will not be participating in this survey in any way shape or form and mailed it back. I did not fill out a single question.

Today I decided to google about the survey and read this blog entry and other sites as well. From what I've read, I wish I'd just googled first! I would have thrown it in the trash without any response. Hopefully my written response will be enough that they leave me alone.

Like other people, I do believe they are sending this out in small batches because if they did it all at once there would be a much bigger outcry as to the blatant invasion of privacy.

Anonymous said...

The more I read about this, the more I'm convinced that the best approach with these insects (But I malign insects by comparison...) is to refuse to communicate with them *at all*. As soon as you become aware that they're from the Census, just *dummy up* and *walk away*, or hang up the phone. Don't lecture them, don't answer ANY questions, don't object - just *disengage* the INSTANT you hear the word "Census" come squeaking out of their pie-hole. That way, they can't even say you refused. In fact, they can't accuse you of *anything* - and at that point, they may not even know who you are, or whether you live at whatever address they're molesting. You DON'T have to identify yourself to ANYONE other than a sworn officer of the law (and even he/she/it had better have a damned good reason for asking - we haven't quite yet reached a state where every sniveling self-important little Government piglet can just demand "YOUR PAPERS, TOVARICH!).

That applies to phone calls as well. I think it's a good idea generally to refuse to identify yourself to ANYONE, Census piglet or otherwise, who calls up and says, "Is Mr. Fonebone There?". Anyone who doesn't identify THEMSELVES first, should be instantly hung up on. For that matter, anyone who asks for "The Head Of The Household", should just be hung up on *whether or not* they've identified themself.

This will do two things. First, it will make the Census droid very, VERY uncomfortable, as it injects a large component of uncertainty into the interaction - and if there's one thing humans (and Census droids) don't like, it's uncertainty (and a Census droid can NOT be programmed by its owners in how to deal with *total* uncertainty). Second, it will waste as much of the Census Bureau's time and money as possible, since they now won't know what to do, and will have to keep trying things. I know it's annoying for the victim, but making their little game too expensive for them is the *one* way to make them give up on their *whole* vile snoopy invasive "program".

One final thought... I've read on some of these blogs how the Census scumbags are harassing people who are homebound with serious chronic illnesses including multiple sclerosis and cancer. That made me see red, and then black - If that's really true, they should be taken out and shot, because only a criminal psychopath - someone with no capability for empathy - would be capable of that.

Anonymous said...

FREE legal services...

Why is it to date, it appears no one has been fined for not responding to or completing the American Community Survey (ACS)
since it is required by law to do so? Are you being harassed by the Census Bureau (ACS survey division) or do you feel your civil rights have been violated? If so, the below web site seems to provide FREE legal services to people whose constitutional and human rights have been threatened or violated.

For more info on this topic, visit:


This is an American issue people...
Democrats, Republicans & Libertarians alike should all be concerned about the ACS survey asking intrusive questions that violates our right to keep our personal information private.

Support Bill H.R. 3131 to make the ACS survey VOLUNTARY - It has already been introduced in congress but hasn't passed yet.

Write a Letter to Congress to support bill H.R. 3131. This will make participation in the American Community Survey voluntary. For information about the bill and to find out who your congressional leaders are, visit:

If you are going to write an email or a letter to a member of Congress there are some things you need to know:

See sample letter to congress on bill H.R. 3131 at:



The RNC is in full support of having this bill passed into law.

The Republican National Committee passed the following resolution at their Summer 2010 meeting:


RESOLVED, that upon the approval of this resolution the Republican National Committee shall deliver a copy of this resolution to each of the Republican members of Congress, all Republican candidates for Congress, and to each Republican state and territorial party office.

As approved by the Republican National Committee, August 6, 2010

If the Democrat's DNC would get on board as the RNC had recently done then bill H.R. 3131 may have a good chance of getting passed into law.

Anonymous said...

FREE legal services...

Why is it to date, it appears no one has been fined for not responding to or completing the American Community Survey (ACS)
since it is required by law to do so? Are you being harassed by the Census Bureau (ACS survey division) or do you feel your civil rights have been violated? If so, the below web site seems to provide FREE legal services to people whose constitutional and human rights have been threatened or violated.

For more info on this topic, visit:


This is an American issue people...
Democrats, Republicans & Libertarians alike should all be concerned about the ACS survey asking intrusive questions that violates our right to keep our personal information private.

Support Bill H.R. 3131 to make the ACS survey VOLUNTARY - It has already been introduced in congress but hasn't passed yet.

Write a Letter to Congress to support bill H.R. 3131. This will make participation in the American Community Survey voluntary. For information about the bill and to find out who your congressional leaders are, visit:

If you are going to write an email or a letter to a member of Congress there are some things you need to know:

See sample letter to congress on bill H.R. 3131 at:



The RNC is in full support of having this bill passed into law.

The Republican National Committee passed the following resolution at their Summer 2010 meeting:



RESOLVED, that upon the approval of this resolution the Republican National Committee shall deliver a copy of this resolution to each of the Republican members of Congress, all Republican candidates for Congress, and to each Republican state and territorial party office.

As approved by the Republican National Committee, August 6, 2010

If the Democrat's DNC would get on board as the RNC had recently done then bill H.R. 3131 may have a good chance of getting passed into law.

Anonymous said...

FREE legal services...

Why is it to date, it appears no one has been fined for not responding to or completing the American Community Survey (ACS)
since it is required by law to do so? Are you being harassed by the Census Bureau (ACS survey division) or do you feel your civil rights have been violated? If so, the below web site seems to provide FREE legal services to people whose constitutional and human rights have been threatened or violated.

For more info on this topic, visit:




This is an American issue people...
Democrats, Republicans & Libertarians alike should all be concerned about the ACS survey asking intrusive questions that violates our right to keep our personal information private.

Support Bill H.R. 3131 to make the ACS survey VOLUNTARY - It has already been introduced in congress but hasn't passed yet.

Write a Letter to Congress to support bill H.R. 3131. This will make participation in the American Community Survey voluntary. For information about the bill and to find out who your congressional leaders are, visit:


If you are going to write an email or a letter to a member of Congress there are some things you need to know:

See sample letter to congress on bill H.R. 3131 at:





The RNC is in full support of having this bill passed into law.

The Republican National Committee passed the following resolution at their Summer 2010 meeting:



RESOLVED, that upon the approval of this resolution the Republican National Committee shall deliver a copy of this resolution to each of the Republican members of Congress, all Republican candidates for Congress, and to each Republican state and territorial party office.

As approved by the Republican National Committee, August 6, 2010

If the Democrat's DNC would get on board as the RNC had recently done then bill H.R. 3131 may have a good chance of getting passed into law.

Anonymous said...

I'm curious as to what happened when you didn't answer the survey. We've been sent two copies and threw them out. They called tonight, and tried to get me to take the survey over the phone. Poor guy got a very polite earful. I'm fully prepared and willing to pay the fine or whatever, I just want to know if anyone has had to?! The other thing is I'm just so steaming mad about this whole thing. I along with the porno-scans at the airports I'm feeling a bit crushed with tyranny. I'm hesitant to leave my name, so I hope you will respond in the comments. I'll check back in a few days.

Public Housewife

Jenn Casey said...

Hi Public Housewife!

After about 90 days, they sent out a Census worker to our house and we told her that we weren't going to give the information. I wrote about it here:

And they left us alone after that. Our experience seemed pretty typical--they will call and come out to your house, but if you can last 90 days, then they will leave you alone. To my knowledge, nobody has been prosecuted for refusing to fill out the ACS (I'm not a lawyer and this is not legal advice).

Hope this helps! I love hearing about other people who stand up to this, too.

The Atomic Mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Thanks for all the information.

We received our first 'home visit' last night. We had gotten two surveys in the mail but never any phone calls.

They rang our bell four times and parked in front of our house for a good half hour before and after the bell ringing. I'm sure they will be back soon, she left a note she is required by law to return until she talks to an adult.

I can ignore them just fine, but I do hate to bother our neighbors in case they (the census people) get super pushy.

The Lozenge said...

This is fun! I just spent almost an hour reading all these comments after receiving my second ACS in the mail today. I had typed up the following note to send back, along with the surveys. I printed two copies.

To Whom it May Concern,

I will not be completing the American Community Survey and I am returning both forms that have been mailed to me.

The US Census Bureau has no authority to ask for this personal information, nor to use it for the purposes described. If I am contacted “by telephone or personal visit,” I will politely refuse to cooperate. This survey is intrusive and goes far beyond the constitutional limits of the census.

Please do not waste more of my tax dollars on this nonsense by sending more forms or people to my residence.

Thank you
Resident of xxxx xxxxxxxx St, Augusta, Georgia

I almost chickened out, then I found Rational Jenn and all the others you other great people on here, who are taking this small stand for dignity. These are going in the mail tomorrow. Hooray for us! Hooray for America, the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I love how this is still going! :) We received the "survey" today. My partner immediately nixed us answering ANY questions as the whole document is illegal. He sold insurance in the past. The very first 'medical/health' question he saw, he began looking for the HIPAA disclaimer. There is none. There is NO HIPAA statement, which violates Federal law. Not only is there no disclaimer on the form, but anyone who calls us and asks these questions MUST be HIPAA certified. Anyone who comes knocking to ask these questions MUST be HIPAA certified. Even the simple "When was the last time xxx was pregnant?" is a violation of HIPAA. THEY have no right to ask any of the medical questions on this survey which makes the whole document illegal under federal law. Because most people fear the threat of "legal actions and fines" they don't stand up to their rights. Is is amazing WHAT info HIPAA protects. Even a sign in sheet at the Dr's office is covered. This would never stand up in a court of law. Our survey was going in the trash...but we kept it for proof if we get harassed. ~Kati~

AB said...

The last couple weeks I have been I have been scouring the Internet looking for more people in the same situation as myself. I was glad to find this blog and a few others.

Sometime last year (I don't recall the month..) I received the ACS. I quickly set it aside ignoring it until, to my surprise, I received another copy of the survey. I looked at it again and began filling in the first form until I got to absurd questions like, when do I leave for work, how do I get there, etc. Enough I said. I took the ACS forms and left them in a pile, deciding I was not going to allow the government to intrude into my private affairs. If they want to know how much money I make they can call the IRS. If they want to know if my home has city water/sewer they can call the city and ask. If they want to know how many people are on the road during rush hour they can look at the traffic cams and start counting. ENOUGH!

A few weeks ago I was leaving for work in the morning and as I pulled out of the garage I noticed an envelope tucked into the service door entrance to my garage. The ink was faded on the outside of the envelope so I am guessing it was there for a while. The letter, like so many others have received, stated a Census Bureau worker had stopped by and missed me (I sure didn't miss them!), and asked me to call. I, of course, ignored the letter and did not call. Last weekend I was on my way out and the ACS worker stopped by. I decided not to answer the door and after 3 rings of the bell and 2 knocks she dropped a business card on my front step and left. This week I was working at home and the ACS worker stopped by. I answered the door. She was surprised and informed me she was attempting to get a hold of me all month. She wanted to ask me the ACS questions and told her I didn't have time to talk because I was working. She explained it would only take a few minutes and I declined. She tried playing the guilt trip on me saying I represent thousands of other homes and the like. She handed me a prepared note and asked me to call her that evening. I didn't. Today I received a FedEx informing me that a field rep had tried to contact me and they hoped this letter would would give me a better understanding of this "mandatory survey and will gain my full cooperation".

If she, or any other field rep, returns I will advise them that the only question I will be answering is the number of individuals living in my home, which I already answered on the real census last year.

Thanks to everyone sharing their stories!!

Lulu said...

I received this survey on Friday and already today (Monday) I received a postcard saying they hoped I had already filled out the survey, but in case I had not to please fill it out as soon as possible. I have no intention of ever filling this illegal survey out. I just completed the census last year, which I didn't much like either. I will keep you apprised as to what happens with this.

Anonymous said...

I Received the survey 2 weeks ago. The penalty under law threat really bothers me. Looking forward to the phone calls and door visits. It's easy to vote or join the military thinking you are doing your patriotic duty, which you are but, it's doing the right thing when you think you are standing alone that is difficult. I hope I am the first American to be prosecuted for refusing to cooperate with this illegal behavior by these unelected bureaucrats.

jeanette said...

It's unlikely you will be prosecuted for not complying with American Community Survey... but if you are, contact The Rutherford Institute (renown legal organization). They have indicated they would be not only willing, but anxious to help.

sbrown said...

HiJenn. I was reading of your experience with the American community survey in 2008. I could not agree more with the concerns you (and others) have voiced regarding government intrusions into our lives. It all just shows what those in the ruling class believe they MUST do to prove to us that they are a vital and critical part of our country! After all, we have already been sorted into three classes of citizen 1st is defective. 2nd is delinquent and 3rd is dependant! in other words, needing elimination, needing incarceration or needing close oversight. I hope you join a teaparty group! It is not just bible thumpers and gubbermint haters, theres some of them. But this is America. This republic was founded by people who believe in a god. They never said everyone MUST worship, only that they were free to do so, or not. Most importantly they stated that rights came from the creator, not a man. I think even the most hard core athiest could agree that they have been getting a free ride on western values for some time now. The islamists do not tolerate non believers. they kill them. So standing up for western judeo -christen ideals is probably no sin for a non believer. You would be welcome in any teaparty group.

Anonymous said...

Hi This is from Vinny

I guess I am late to this, but I am at the end of phase 2 and I am anxiously awaiting phase 3 and the home visits. I've found this way to intrusive into my own and my families lives. My wife wanted me to answer because of the threat of a fine, so I sent in some BS answers, wish I would have found this site before that. I have spent my entire adult life in one form or another working for the US Government, 21 years in the US Army and now 13 with the US Postal Service. I know there are numerous sources of this information available that they don't need me to answer. I don't know what my residence is valued at because I haven't thought of selling, as far as if I have a flush toilet, let me know who doesn't in the 21st Century. Oh, the more I go on the more irate I get with the nerve of the government.

The Chicken Farmer said...

I too am in phase three.. Lots of calls and then two visits. They got lost the first time. A week later they drove a half mile up a dirt road with no signs to find me.

I wondered if they ever considered that a lack of signs and a long, private, dirt road might indicate a desire for privacy....

They knocked at the front door, and not getting an answer drove an additional 400 hundred feet around back and up a tractor trail to find me working in the chicken house.

No one ever... and it's a big ever, has driven that trail. Just not something you do.

My mood was by this point not too sympathetic to their cause.. the front end of their car was parked in my chicken yard. They said they were looking for an address... and started into their rehearsed story. I cut them off and asked who they were looking for... "We'll Gee! We don't know who... I cut them off again and told them they were on private property... and to leave.

They wanted to use the chicken yard to turn around in so they could navigate their way back out...

I instead had them back all the way out. They very nearly got stuck in the sand twice. The nerve and insolence. If I had entered a private property and found no one home... I would not have gone poking around.

Sorry but I don't know who these people were or where they came from but I do know my road and my rights, and where I keep my gun.

I trust the visits will end soon.

The Chicken Farmer

Anonymous said...

I laughed till I cried over Chicken Farmers post. Everyone just stand your ground. I did and they did give up after 90 days. That was 15 months ago and haven't heard a peep(okay pun intended) from them since.
Sharon M

The Chicken Farmer said...

Ok.. a bit of follow up in case anyone is following the trail...

It's been a week. They now sent the UPS man... (I decided not to shoot him since he does bring seed and other necessaries sometimes.)

He had a genuine certified letter from them that I refused.... Then I said "Hank'" (Hank is the UPS mans' name... I said,

"Hank, If you get any more of these and aren't bringing seed, just check the box there that says 'refused', and save the gas.

Hank agreed to do that, we shook hands, and I actually felt kind of patriotic because of the gas savings thing...

Now that HAD to cost the taxpayer some money!

I might even be willing to agree with parts of what Patty Becker said... but I'm sure there are enough goodhearted Americans out there more than ready to fill out the necessary info for any area.

I'm not smart, and don't understand the Constitution like brendan. I was dumb enough to volunteer for Vietnam and took a bullet because 'they' told me it was the 'right' thing to do. That didn't help much, but I've gotten a bit smarter.

Once they have determined you aren't interested, won't comply, are a stubborn farmer, armed and dangerous, or what have you.... Then it seems to me to be a waste of those 'scarce resources' to continue banging your head into an immovable wall.

When I'm pressed, I dig in deeper. I've paid my dues for living here.

However, I continue to have the greatest confidence that they're spending our tax money wisely.

However, I'd give up a chicken to be past the 90 days like Willow.

The Chicken Farmer

Anonymous said...

I also got 2 surveys which I trashed because they were addressed to "resident". I then received calls 2 times a day for 2 weeks and finally answered the call. I told the man I had thrown the documents away because they were not addressed to me. I explained if someone wanted my input, the mail has to have me name on it. I also explained I had answered the census and felt I had done my duty. He then started his threats and sent a brouchure to call a telephone number to do the survey. Again it was addressed to "resident". I did not respond. A week later, a representative came to my home and left a brochure with a note but it was raining and the # got blurred from the water. Last night I was awaken by a representative framing on my door and ringing the door bell. I had to answer the door as she was obiviously not going to leave. She agreed to contact me again on Wednesday since I was asleep and not in good humor. bottom line, go to website: I sent this to the census bureau today with a copy to my congressman & senators.

Anonymous said...

Well, the games have begun. Got the ACS early this month, first phone call today. Just hung up the moment I heard "Census Bure.." (didn't give 'em time to finish).

I spent 20 years in the military defending freedom and now it is time to defend my own liberty to not answer intrusive questions from the Nanny State.

Bring it on, Big Brother.

Anonymous said...

I sent in my census and now they keep showing up at my home to do follow ups (which I did do one of)since the woman had walked right into my home calling out "hello
'. I live on the 2nd floor and had the downstairs door ajar for my cat. After I walked her out and answered a number of intrusive questions, I no longer felt comfortable. Now she keeps coming over and bothers my neighbors. I also do not feel comfortable answering personal questions about others in my household. This is ridiculous.

Rachel - still a FREE American said...

So glad to find your blog. Along with others who have taken a stand, your words are encouragement to me as I have no intention of filling out this form, answering questions that are a blatant invasion of my privacy or providing information that puts me at risk for identitiy theft. They say all information is kept private, but we all know how secure that actually is.
At this point I have received the form along with the followup postcard. I have made sure that my landlord would not give out my name if they call there to ask who lives in this apartment. If they somehow manage to wrangle my cell phone number (there is no landline at my address) I just won't answer any unidentified calls or answer the door if it gets to that.
I have already notified the local police sergeant about this and he said to use my best judgement, but he doesn't see how they can force a person to fill out the form. So if they want to tell me that I'm required by law, I will tell them I'm happy to call the local police sergeant. :-)
It annoys me that I even have to give these things consideration. I have always taken pride in being an American and value the freedoms we experience here. This is in direct opposition to that and I'm appalled by it.
Thanks for your site and there is strength in numbers!

Anonymous said...

These jerks have started harassing me too. At least 3 wks now. They went straight from sending the form, to loads of calls (which all went unanswered), to coming to my place of residence and illegally shoving their crap in my mailbox and sometimes sticking it on my door--defacing property and illegally posting solicitations. They seem to think they can use empty threats and scare tactics to force personal info to be disclosed, for no good reason. They will not be getting a response from me, would love to firm up the legal precedent on their asses. Always been a law-abiding citizen, but will not be intimidated to unlawful invasions of privacy. This needs to be stopped and soon. They fly under the radar and fan out the people they target so no one knows that others are being similarly harassesd. Abusive and invasive, and most of all, totally illegal.

John in Texas said...

I just received the ACS survey and am shocked by the invasion of privacy. What a waste of taxpayer dollars. Obviously a pork barrel job creator. I will adamantly refuse to participate.

Jean said...

I called my Governor's office and told them how invasive the AMC surver is in our personal lives. They said to throw it away. I'll listen to my Governor.

John In Mass said...

Last month I got an ACS addressed to RESIDENT. Last week the calls began; first from India, then Manitoba, then two from Virginia today. I have a voice mail saying I should make a note of my case number and call someone at the Census. I will not cooperate, this blog made the decision easy.

Thanks for keeping the blog open on the topic.

John from Massachusetts said...

We got our first Sunday morning call today.

We have decided to treat this as a kind of make believe with reference to “Casablanca.” I think of myself as Victor Lazlo (Paul Henreid) and my wife is Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman) [In truth, Rational Jenn and the early resisters are much more like Victor Lazlo and Ilsa Lund than we are. We are much more like S.Z. Sakall (Carl the waiter) and his “what watch, such watch” friends who were hoping to get along beautifully in “Amerika.” ].

Now, when they call, I think of the melody to “Die Wacht am Rhein” when I answer the phone. They say this is the “Census” and as Max Steiner’s arrangement of the “Marseilles” (“Play the Marseilles!”) drowns out “Die Wacht am Rhein” I tell them “I know who you are and we are not cooperating.” Then I end the conversation.

There are more “Casablanca” connections to be made. About the penalties for non-compliance, I think of Claude Rains (Captain Renault) and his bar tabs from “Rick’s.” “It is a little game we play, they give me the bill and I tear it up.”

When the Census agents comes to visit, their leitmotif will be ‘Die Fahne Hoch,” that is much more ominous, much more like Conrad Veidt (Major Strasser) – however, Conrad Veidt was himself an enemy of the Third Reich; that must never be forgotten. I will just shoo them away. I have told my neighbors that I am resisting the ACS and so they might be visited by government officials asking questions about us. I tell my neighbors to tell them anything they like.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your information concerning the American Community Survey. I received my ACS Tuesday 22 November. I immediately contacted my Congressional Representative, Virginia Foxx, and asked if I had to complete this outrageous and intrusive survey. I am waiting for a response. In the meantime, I began researching my rights. Any suggestions on legality of refusal barring the passage of Rep Ted Poe of Texas bill submitted in 2009 making the compliance with the ACS optional?

Southside Hawk said...

Well, it's back. Got my postcard two days ago and my ACS - the big whopper - today. Outregeously intrusive. Not to meantion time-consuming to do. Someone needs to tell our fed government that time is money and they have wasted enough of ours already.

Heartened to read all the postings - will follow the advice.

Anonymous said...

I thought I would give everyone a timeline on what to expect from the ACS if you choose to not respond. I live in NC and received a postcard around the end of Aug 2011 informing me that I would be receiving the survey soon. The survey arrived just after Labor Day. A couple of weeks later a reminder notice arrived saying that they haven't received a response yet. Another week or two passed and I received a second survey.

The phone calls started on Oct 20 which were easy to ignore with caller ID (usually showed up as Census Bureau or ACS). The calls would average one every couple of days. I probably received 15 to 20 total calls from them with maybe only 3 times that they actually left a message asking me to call them back.

The in-person visits started on Nov 11. I wasn't home for the first visit and they left a business card and brochure explaining why the survey was important, and to call them back so I could fill it out over the phone with them. A different person showed up about a week later when I was home and I didn't answer the door. Another brochure and business card was left.

It has been over two weeks now since the second visit and no mailings, calls, or visits have happened. I'm starting to think that since it has been 3 months since the initial notification, they have moved on to the next people on their list.

Bottom line is that if you continue to ignore them they will eventually go away. There is no law that says you have to answer your phone or door when it rings. Anyone who is nervous about any penalties from not completing this survey should take comfort that no one has been punished. I actually expected this process to be a lot more annoying than it was, but if you have the patience to wait it out they will forget all about you.

Erik said...

I'm confused about the hostility and controversy surrounding this questionnaire.

What harm might come specifically to me if I fully complete this American Community Survey? Even if the government retained the information specifically about me, how could it be harmful?

Also, suppose that all my information from that form was leaked and posted on web pages. How could I be harmed, exactly?

Thanks in advance for any insights you have for me. I'm debating whether to stall or to just complete the survey.

Anonymous said...

I am a bit worried. I have received two mailings of the survey and multiple phone calls. Today I answered the phone and said I would not be participating and to find another random house. They asked if I was refusing the survey and I said yes. They hung up. Should I have said that? Please give me your thoughts. thanks...

cathy said...

Anon, you're fine. They might continue to call you to get you to change your mind or they might leave you alone. Time will tell. Others have done exactly what you have done.

mom-2-sophie-n-aiden said...

Thanks so much for all of the great information I found here. I received my initial survey about a month ago, and just got a second packet with a new survey today. I refuse to fill this thing out. My husband thinks that I should just fill in the section that asks how many people reside in our house (Adult 1, Adult 2, etc.). Should I do thi and leave the rest blank or just trash the whole thing and ride it out?

I am not comfortable with the types of questions this survey asks and I am too busy with work and being a mom to my kids to take the time to fill this thing out.

What a crock.

Burt said...

Thank you for all you’re doing. I’m glad there is a place for people to share their thoughts about this outrageous and intrusive survey. Mine hasn’t come yet, got just a notice that it would come shortly.
Interesting, a friend of mine told me that he did receive such survey some years ago, and he decided not to fight it, and just filled it out. He hoped-- as he completed his ‘civil duty’, they would forget about him forever. But it was not to be! One year later, he received such survey again! That time he ignored it, and when census guys in a while called him, he told them that he had done it before and why they bothered him again. You know what they said? ‘We do have your last year’s information, but now we need to see your changes.’ He asked, ‘And the next time will you send me this form again??’ ‘We cannot guarantee we wouldn’t’, they said.

So, when they grab a victim, they don’t let him go!
Do they target the same people? That’s horrible!

Do we live in a free country??

Burt said...

Thank you for all you’re doing. I’m glad there is a place for people to share their thoughts about this outrageous and intrusive survey. Mine hasn’t come yet, got just a notice that it would come shortly.

Interesting, a friend of mine told me that he did receive such survey some years ago, and he decided not to fight and just filled it out. He hoped-- as he completed his ‘civil duty’, they would forget about him forever. But it was not to be! One year later, he received such survey again! That time he ignored it, and when census guys in a while called him, he told them that he had done it once and why they bothered him again. You know what they said? ‘We do have your last year’s information, but now we need to see your changes.’ He asked, ‘And the next time will you send me this form again??’ ‘We cannot guarantee we wouldn’t’, they said.

So, when they grab a victim, they don’t let him go!
Do they target the same people? That’s horrible!

Do we live in a free country??

Stan said...


There is a website gathering signatures for an ONLINE PETITION to Congress to fight this survey:

"Stop the American Community Survey!"

The more people sign, the better chances for all of us to be heard!

Stan said...


Guys, in your letters to your Senators / Representatives for support of the known Bill to make participation in ACS voluntary (Bill H.R. 3131), refer to a NEW NUMBER of the Bill:

Bill H.R. 931, “To make participation in the American Community Survey voluntary, except with respect to certain basic questions”, Sponsor: Rep Poe, Ted [TX-2] (introduced 3/3/2011),

see ]

gmorris said...

Rutherford Institute tells the Census Bureau to Back Off!!

Thursday, February 02, 2012 Updated at 2:53 AM ETLogin Legal team tells Census Bureau to back off
Agents accused of stalking, harassing Americans
Published: 4 days ago

Text smaller Text biggerAccusing the U.S. Census Bureau of “stalking” and “harassment” against dozens of Americans, officials with the Rutherford Institute have asked the federal agency to explain how its “American Community Survey” questions related to information the government is authorized to request.

Or perhaps it should just stop sending out the forms with dozens of questions that demand information about fertility, martial history, utility costs, vehicles available and health insurance coverage, a letter to the federal agency says.

“The right to be left alone has been characterized as ‘the right most valued by civilized men.’ By compelling responses to invasive, personal questions that go far beyond the type of census mandated by the United States Constitution, the federal government is intruding significantly into the ‘zone of privacy’ the United States Supreme Court has recognized as being protected by the Bill of Rights,” said John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute.

“Indeed,” he said, “the American Community Survey contains some of the most detailed and intrusive questions ever put forth in a census questionnaire, concerning matters that the government simply has no business knowing, including a person’s job, income, physical and emotional health, family status, place of residence and intimate personal and private habits.”

WND has reported on periodic efforts by members of Congress to rein in the invasive questions from the government, including last year’s call by U.S. Rep. Ted Poe to crack down.

Get “Taking America Back,” Joseph Farah’s manifesto for sovereignty, self-reliance and moral renewal

A letter yesterday from Whitehead to Commerce Secretary John Bryson pointed out that the U.S. Commerce Department may actually be acting unconstitutionally by requiring Americans, under threat of penalties, to respond to such questions.

Whitehead asks that the government immediately stop distributing copies of the American Community Survey until it is revised “to include only questions on subjects covered by the census itself.”

He also said the Commerce Department needs to document that the information demanded is both “needed” and not available elsewhere.

And Whitehead said the agency should stop threatening Americans with fines and should instruct “all agents and employees that stalking, harassing behavior toward citizens will not be tolerated.”

gmorris said...

Regarding our 'American Community Survey' experience:
About Mid January I received my second form. The first one got 'lost'. I mailed the survey back, unanswered, with a copy of the following letter I found online.

To Whom it May Concern,

Pursuant to Article I, Section 2, Clause 3 of the Constitution, the only information you are empowered to request is the total number of occupants at this address. My “name, sex, age, date of birth, race, ethnicity, telephone number, relationship and housing tenure” have absolutely nothing to do with apportioning direct taxes or determining the number of representatives in the House of Representatives. Therefore, neither Congress nor the Census Bureau have the constitutional authority to make that information request a component of the enumeration outlined in Article I, Section 2, Clause 3. In addition, I cannot be subject to a fine for basing my conduct on the Constitution because that document trumps laws passed by Congress.

Interstate Commerce Commission v. Brimson, 154 U.S. 447, 479 (May 26, 1894)

“Neither branch of the legislative department [House of Representatives or Senate], still less any merely administrative body [such as the Census Bureau], established by congress, possesses, or can be invested with, a general power of making inquiry into the private affairs of the citizen. Kilbourn v. Thompson, 103 U.S. 168, 190. We said in Boyd v. U.S., 116 U. S. 616, 630, 6 Sup. Ct. 524,―and it cannot be too often repeated,―that the principles that embody the essence of constitutional liberty and security forbid all invasions on the part of government and it’s employees of the sanctity of a man’s home and the privacies of his life. As said by Mr. Justice Field in Re Pacific Ry. Commission, 32 Fed. 241, 250, ‘of all the rights of the citizen, few are of greater importance or more essential to his peace and happiness than the right of personal security, and that involves, not merely protection of his person from assault, but exemption of his private affairs, books, and papers from inspection and scrutiny of others. Without the enjoyment of this right, all others would lose half their value.’”

Note: This United States Supreme Court case has never been overturned.


A Citizen of the United States of America

The census bureau kept calling us (at all hours of weekdays weekends) for about a month until the middle of this week. Then the calls just stopped. A representative just showed up at our door about an hour ago. Here's how it went: I answered the door. Me: Can I help you? Him: I'm from the Census Bureau and I have a few questions for you. Me: I've already answered all the questions on the 2010 Census. Him: This isn't the 2010 Census, this is some thing else. Me: I know. And this has nothing to do with Taxation and Representation. I've answered evevything I'm going to answer on the 2010 census. I'm sorry. I close the door. Him: Shakes his head and walked back to his car and left.

About 15 min after he left our phone rang. CallerID shows UTAH CALL. I let it go to answer machine as I do all unknown calls. No message was left.

I don't think this is over yet.
I have a feeling they'll be back again.

muddyboots said...

Well, we've now had our visit. A kind woman did show up at our home, unannounced, with a laptop open and seemingly ready to conduct the survey, in person, right then and there at 7:30PM. Really?

After some discussion about work schedules, sick kids in the home, and the lengths to which my family has gone to keep our information private, I was "reassured" about the information's confidentiality and that many of the questions could be answered generically with "man of the house", etc. That still doesn't cut it. After reading the literature, I find the questions subjective and irrelevent to the purpose of the original 1954 Census legistalation.

Our ACS representative mentioned the "mandatory" survey was built because the Census, conducted every 10 years, was outdated by current data. If the Census is designed for a head count and is the ONLY information required, then why don't they simply do a Census every few years? If you listen, their rhetoric defeats the purpose they proclaim. Either the ACS is more current data, or it isn't. If true, then why the additional questions? I cite the example sent to me this week via FedEx (following our visit) which compares the 2010 Census with the ACS. The document actually points out the differences by stating, "The 2010 Census asks questions on: age, sex, Hispanic origin, race, relationship, and home (owned or rented). The ACS asks additional questions on topics such as: education, health insurance, heating costs, and transportation."

I won't subscribe to a larger conspiracy theory, but I stand by an adage developed in college: to think the government is capable of guarding your privacy is self-deception.

Cyndi said...

How long are they going to try to catch me? Is the cycle 90 days? When does the countdown begin?

Different person at my door right now - probably Mr. Belflower's supervisor.


BTW, Rational Jenn, we homeschool. Do you have an active web site or FB page?


Jenn Casey said...

Hi Cyndi! The 90 day cycle begins when you first get the form. They will leave you alone after that.

Yay for homeschooling! I write about it sometimes on my blog. Feel free to find me on Facebook, at :)

JimmyJoeBillyBob said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

I deleted my previous comment, but will come back to revisit it later.

Alex said...

Good news! Rutherford Institute issued a stern warning to the Census Bureau regarding ACS.

Unknown said...

OK, I think I outlasted the 90-day harassment campaign, so I'm back now. Just wanted to say thanks to Jenn for creating this very helpful forum. When I started receiving the postcards, the two surveys, and the horrific barrage of phone calls, I went from being irritated to being completely outraged. My instinct is to fight when I get attacked. This blog helped me make an intelligent decision on that, so again: MANY THANKS!!!!! The ACS is a great example of a government gone waaaaaaaay off course. Hurray for the Ron Pauls of the country!!! We obviously need to fight back to keep our freedoms.

Midnite said...

Won't waste time detailing how I got here, we all know the background. Got my second call early this week. After Me quoting the constitution and the CB caller referring to title 13 ect. me rebutting with Supreme court rulings he finally asked if I was refusing to answer the survey. I replied yes so he asked me to write refused and send the form in. (Like I am dumb enough to incriminate myself like that) I informed him I didn't know if I still had the 2 forms. this ruffled his feathers and brought his ears up asking for an explanation. I told him I probably threw them in the trash, which he didn't like. He replied, and I quote "I guess we will have to step it up a notch then. have a nice day". I asked what he meant and what the next step was and he just repeated himself before hanging up.

At least 95% of the people here, and on every other blog I have found on the ACS are asking how to sidestep, avoid, delay, and make it past the 90 day harassment period. I for one welcome the harassment. I love a good challenge. And I love standing up for my/your rights. Armed with the Constitution in one hand and the Bill of Rights in the other, I welcome them to my front gate, if for no other reason than to have the satisfaction of throwing them off my property and defying their "mandatory" Unconstitutional my Rottweiler likes to keep quiet in the shadows until AFTER someone is on my property LOL

Thanks for keeping this blog alive Jenn, and thank you to the thousands who are standing up to the Census Gestapo and exercising your right to say NO

Sign me Midnite.

Midnite said...

Ok, an update. Today around 12:15 pm I got a visit. Had to be today of all days. I was scheduled to appear as Santa at 1pm for a local charity function, so was half way dressed when I say a car outside the fence and 2 people standing there. An older gentleman and a young lady. The lady did all the talking, identifying them as from the Census and wanting to ask some questions. I told them i was in a hurry, couldn't talk, see me another day and went back inside. Said screw it, went back outside and told them not to waste their time coming back as I had answered all the questions I was gonna, and went back inside. They sat in their car for about 15 minutes before leaving. I expect (hope?) they will be back to get a piece of my mind. Too bad I didn't have time to deal with it today.

Midnite said...

Today, 12-5-12 I get an envelope from the Census Bureau. 3 pages. Dated 12-3-12 it explained a rep contacted me (Rosa C. is her name). The letter no where states why I am getting it other than it is an explanation of why I should give them the answers they want. Of course they say a staff member will contact me soon unless I want to call Rosa C. at a local number, or call the regional office.

Page 2 is the FAQ's.Of course it cites authority, says it is mandantory, and if I dont answer I could be fined. Also says the CB is not an enforcement agency and any decision to prosecute would be done by the Justice Dept. (It also says they can not reveal my identity or records to to ANYONE, so how are they going to report me to the JD?) Last FAQ: I REFUSE TO ANSWER THE QUESTIONS. WHERE DO I SEND MY CHECK? We have no authority to accept Money. If a prosecution is begun, any fine imposed would be ordered by a court of law. However, we would much rather you review the questions and answer the ones you are comfortable answering. (So if the only one I am comfortable answering is the number of people living here then I am off the hook?)

Page 3 Front sort of breaks down Titles 13 & 18. It does say they collect data for other agencies. (But why, by law they cant share that data with other agencies, yet they intend to. Back to the FAQ "By law, the CB cannot share respondents answers with anyone--not the IRS, FBI, CIA or any other government agency)

Page 3 Back: Any owner, manager, superintendeent, or agent of any Hotel, boardinghouse, OR OTHER BUILDING refusing or willfully neglecting (to give them the answers they want) or GIVE FREE INGRESS THERETO OR EGRESS THEREFROM ...(to conduct an authorized survey) shall be fined not more than $5000. Are they saying i have to let them come on MY property or MY house (ANY OTHER BUILDING) WITHOUT a warrant or I can be fined?

Stay tuned folks, I am here for the long haul. And thanks Jenn for allowing my comments. More people need to be aware of what is happening and stand up for their rights to stop it. I have yet to see on ANY blog where someone has got a letter like I just got.I plan to video the next meeting, and depending on how that goes, contact every news media in the LA area about this violation of civil and Constitutional rights.

Hazel said...

It's hard to not get upset that we have been chosen for this survey. This all started more than 2 years ago when we went through a very similar ordeal with the Census Bureau over the American Community Survey.
At that time, my husband and I had never heard of such an intrusion into an American’s rights and was confident that someone was trying to pull off a scam. Because I have worked in jobs that required me to research info on the computer, I felt comfortable tackling this and exposing the culprits. I could hardly believe my research, that this privacy-revoking survey was indeed the work of my very own federal government. I found a LOT of information, just like what you are reading here. I spend many hours, researching, writing and contacting people for help.
What I discovered was that NOT ONE person had ever heard of, or had experience with, this survey. My brother even called his friend, who was a judge, in another town and he, at first, said I was being conned, and after his own research said I was on my own. I got the same reaction from various local and state authorities. This ALL is in the Census Bureau’s plan: to take you by surprise, to divide and conquer, to put you into the place that you must cooperate with them. No one else is sympathetic or concerned, because, after all you are the only one they know who has gotten this survey. Most people you contact don’t believe it is for real. Under secrecy, they are able to harass 250,000 families a month.
Yes, yes there are a bunch of people out there that say “it’s confidential.” Yeah, well, they didn’t get a survey themselves did they, so what do they care? And, they didn’t research the facts to know Japanese Americans were betrayed and their addresses – which were taken from the census records – were given to authorities so that they could be rounded up and put in camps. So, in the future, if they want to pull confidential facts from these surveys, they can and will, which has already happened. So much for privacy and confidentiality.
Mostly, people are apathetic because it is not happening to them. For those of us that it has happened to, we should be speaking up. I firmly believe we should see more and more of sites like this.
So, no, we never did participate in the survey and somehow muddled through, by mostly avoidance, to the place where we thought we would be left alone… By the way, guess what we got in the mail a couple of months ago? Yep, the good ole ACS survey. And, I’m sick. We even moved to a new town, quite a distance from where we lived. They tracked us here. Then I realized, we will probably be harassed the rest of our lives.
We believe that we did fill out the ‘long version’ of the census in 2000. If we are correct, it was actually quite short, maybe 10 extra questions. That was nothing like the 28 pages of invasive questions you get on the ACS survey. I believe that short/long 2000 survey is one reason we were ‘selected’ for this survey. They want to add layer upon layer of information about us for whatever guinea-pig research they want to do. My husband was in the Army and worked in a government job for many, many years after retiring from the military. Just think of all the info they have on him, and me, for future research. It would surely be to their advantage to follow us for the rest of our lives.
So, here we are waiting for the next stage of this American Community Survey to fall. We haven’t even opened any of the mail we have been sent, we’ve received a few calls that we haven’t picked up the phone to participate in. However, we did just happen to be looking out our front window today and saw someone stop their vehicle and take a picture of our house. So yup, I think it won’t be long before we get that first knock.
Gloom, despair and agony on me….

Ben There