End growing anti-Census firestorm with the “Census-On-A-Postcard”

Libertarian Party Press Release
28 March 2000

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NEWS FROM THE LIBERTARIAN PARTY
2600 Virginia Avenue, NW, Suite 100
Washington DC 20037
World Wide Web: http://www.LP.org
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For release: March 28, 2000
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For additional information:
George Getz, Press Secretary
Phone: (202) 333-0008 Ext. 222
E-Mail: 76214.3676@Compuserve.com
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End growing anti-Census firestorm with the “Census-On-A-Postcard”

WASHINGTON, DC — There’s a firestorm of protest growing around the USA about the offensively inquisitive 2000 Census, but the Libertarian Party says it has a solution: Get rid of the long form, get rid of the short form — and replace them both with a Census Postcard.

“We have just one question for the Census Bureau,” said Steve Dasbach, the party’s national director. “Since the U.S. Constitution requires just a count of the population, why doesn’t the Census ask just one question: How many people live in your home?

“Such a Census-on-a-postcard would save time, address Americans’ concerns about privacy, save taxpayers billions of dollars, and cause the compliance rate to soar. All the Census has to do is follow the old motto: Keep it simple, stupid.”

Over the past two weeks — as millions of Census forms have landed in mailboxes — the media is reporting that growing numbers of Americans are refusing to answer Census questions, Census Bureau and Congressional hotlines are being swamped by calls of complaint, and millions of people think the Census violates their privacy.

Some recent media comments:

* “Americans from coast to coast are expressing shock and outrage over the level of detailed questioning from the federal government and the 2000 Census, with thousands of citizens vowing to pay fines rather than submit to the private nature of the inquisition.”
— Drudge Report, March 15, 2000

* “The Census Department is overstepping its mandate and prying into irrelevant facets of your home life.”
— Manchester Union Leader (NH), March 22, 2000

* “Fifty percent [of Americans] say they don’t believe the Census Bureau will guard the information it collects about them from other government agencies.”
— USA Today/CNN/Gallup Poll, March 13, 2000

* “Many Americans are calling the Census Bureau and members of Congress to complain about the intrusive nature of the questions asked on the long form of the 2000 Census.”
— The Washington Times, March 19, 2000

* “Innumerable residents across the country are refusing to participate in the Census, beyond a simple head-count.”
— Julie Foster, WorldNetDaily.com, March 22, 2000

And behind the anecdotal evidence are the stark numbers about declining Census response rates: While 65% of Americans returned their Census forms by mail in 1990, only 61% are expected to do so this year.

To counter this, the Census Bureau has mounted a $160 million advertising campaign, is lecturing Americans that the Census is a “civic duty,” and has even recruited clergy to encourage their congregations to answer the Census.

As a result, the cost per household has skyrocketed: From only $13 in 1970 to a whopping $56 in 2000 (adjusted for inflation).

That’s why Libertarians are suggesting a way to cut that $56 cost down to less than a dollar — by cutting the number of Census questions from 52 to one.

“Put the Census on a postcard,” reiterated Dasbach. “Ask one question: How many people live in your home? We don’t need a seven-question short form. We don’t need a 52-question long form. What America needs is a one-question Census-on-a-postcard.

“And for those Census bureaucrats who disagree, we have one other question: What part of the Constitution don’t you understand?”

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