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American Community Survey

bigdaddy1

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May 7, 2009
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Southsider der hey
I got one of of those Census surveys, came complete with threats. What questions can they ask and what questions can I ignore legally?
 

davidmcbeth

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earth's crust
They can ask the questions posed. You have a legal obligation to complete it.

What happens if you don't? The NSA will complete it for you with the information that they have on you...

Really, beats me...
 

Gil223

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Weber County Utah
I visited the census.gov website and reviewed the form and the Operations and Administrative section. The form questions appear to be innocuous, and nowhere on the site is it stated that you are under any legal obligation to complete the survey. If there is no legal obligation, you should be free to tell them what you wish, or nothing at all. :uhoh: Pax...
 

davidmcbeth

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I visited the census.gov website and reviewed the form and the Operations and Administrative section. The form questions appear to be innocuous, and nowhere on the site is it stated that you are under any legal obligation to complete the survey. If there is no legal obligation, you should be free to tell them what you wish, or nothing at all. :uhoh: Pax...
So this is not the census census then?
 

eye95

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How many times are you going to post this?

I replied in the Hot Topics version. I won't repeat the reply here.

The staff here take a dim view of multiple postings of the same thread like this.
 

Gil223

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So this is not the census census then?
No, it is not the "CENSUS" per se - it is a survey that the Census Bureau send out at odd (1, 3 and 5 yr) intervals, to nobody in particular. The purpose and use is explained at their web site. Pax... :banana:
 
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jammer

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, ,
how many times are you going to post this?

I replied in the hot topics version. I won't repeat the reply here.

The staff here take a dim view of multiple postings of the same thread like this.
always have to argue with someone, or about something, right eye? Why don't you get a real life, and find something constructive to do with it, i'm tired of hearing the rant, all the time. You can block me if you want doesn't mean anything to me one way or the other.
 

eye95

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always have to argue with someone, or about something, right eye? Why don't you get a real life, and find something constructive to do with it, i'm tired of hearing the rant, all the time. You can block me if you want doesn't mean anything to me one way or the other.
Ironically, you are arguing with me about this.

Funny.

Don't like my posts? There is an ignore feature. This is the only post of yours I have read, and I am not impressed. I might be ignoring you in the near future.

Moving on.
 

Gil223

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Weber County Utah
How many times are you going to post this?

I replied in the Hot Topics version. I won't repeat the reply here.

The staff here take a dim view of multiple postings of the same thread like this.
It would be nice if there was an easier way to detect multiple instances of identical/very similar subjects, rather than having to sort thru several hundred posts in each forum heading. An auto-detect of some kind that picked up on key words in topic headings, and redirected the person to the existing thread would be very helpful in reducing the potential number(s) of what are essentially duplicate posts. :) Pax...
 

bigdaddy1

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I originally posted in the wrong forum, and figured I should post in this thread. Unfortunately I forgot to delete the first thread.
 

MKEgal

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I'm away from home at the moment, so can't reference my own copy of the survey, but they give the US Code information showing that they're allowed to be nosy, and there is a penalty both for not answering and for answering falsely.
Lying gets you a bigger penalty, so if you don't want to answer it, just don't answer it.

There's the censes which is done every 10 years,
the mid-decade census which is done on the 5's,
and then they can decide to do a survey whenever they think it's necessary.
The topics they're allowed (by law) to ask about seem pretty broad too.

So yes, it's intrusive & they're asking some pretty personal questions, and the law says you have to answer and there's a potential $100 penalty if you don't answer.
You choose what to do.

If I remember, I'll update this in a little bit when I'm back home & can look at the notes I made when researching it for myself.
Or you could use the code citations they provide on the form and go someplace like this to plug it in & read it on your own.
(Second search box on the right, where it says "search US Code".)
((Incidentally, that link goes to the federal "GF"SZ law.))
 
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MKEgal

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Here's the overall ACS webpage:
http://www.census.gov/acs/www/#

And a link to the census part of the US Code (Title 13, United States Code, Sections 141, 193, and 221)
Again, basically it's required by law and they can fine you $100 if you don't answer, $500 if you lie.
I wouldn't know where to start looking to see if there's ever been anyone fined for not answering or for lying, but it's only a fine.


193. preliminary & supplemental statistics
In advance of, in conjunction with, or after the taking of each census provided for by this chapter, the Secretary may make surveys and collect such preliminary and supplementary statistics related to the main topic of the census as are necessary to the initiation, taking, or completion thereof.


221. Refusal or neglect to answer questions; false answers
(a) Whoever, being over eighteen years of age, refuses or willfully neglects, when requested by the Secretary, or by any other authorized officer or employee of the Department of Commerce or bureau or agency thereof acting under the instructions of the Secretary or authorized officer, to answer, to the best of his knowledge, any of the questions on any schedule submitted to him in connection with any census or survey provided for by subchapters I, II, IV, and V of chapter 5 of this title, applying to himself or to the family to which he belongs or is related, or to the farm or farms of which he or his family is the occupant, shall be fined not more than $100.

(b) Whoever, when answering questions described in subsection (a) of this section, and under the conditions or circumstances described in such subsection, willfully gives any answer that is false, shall be fined not more than $500.

(c) Notwithstanding any other provision of this title, no person shall be compelled to disclose information relative to his religious beliefs or to membership in a religious body.

 
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stealthyeliminator

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Dec 29, 2008
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Texas
What's the fundamental difference between this and a federal police officer stopping you on the street and asking the same questions?
 

stealthyeliminator

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Dec 29, 2008
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Nonconsensual detention and handcuffs. You may beat the rap but you will not beat our ride (extra-legal harassment).
So, if you overtly refuse to answer their questions and they fine you and you refuse to pay, nothing happens? No handcuffs? Or does it all eventually lead to the same place?
 

kenshin

Regular Member
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May 15, 2008
Messages
286
Location
Gig Harbor, Washington, USA
Originally posted on the other thread, thanks to Nightmare for pointing me to this thread.


Article I Section 2 Paragraph 3 of the constitution:

"Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons. 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, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct."

This allows for the government to take a decennial survey to 'enumerate' the population for the purpose of appointing representatives. It doesn't matter what USC that congress passes that says otherwise because nowhere in the constitution does it give congress the authority to create such a law. I suspect this is why no one has ever actually been fined, because if the fine was challenged in court on a constitutional basis it would most likely die a horrible death. Than there would be legal precedent for refusing to fill out these intrusive ACS forms. Of course the Census Bureau doesn't want that.

Also found http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/cgi-bin/getcase.pl?court=us&vol=154&invol=447;
Interstate Commerce Commission v. Brimson, 154 U.S. 447, 479 (May 26, 1894)
"We do not overlook those constitutional limitations which, for the protection of personal rights, must necessarily attend all investigations conducted under the authority of congress. Neither branch of the legislative department, still less any merely administrative body(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, [154 U.S. 447, 479] 103 U.S. 168 , 190. We said in Boyd v. U. S., 116 U.S. 616, 630 , 6 S. 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 the government and its 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 the inspection and scrutiny of others. Without the enjoyment of this right, all others would lose half their value.'"


My opinion, I am not a lawyer so take it for what its worth (not much), is simply ignore it. If you get Census Bureau employees on at your front door just ask them to leave and/or trespass them from the property, but DON'T lie to them. Lying to census employees can indeed lead to a fine, can't seem to find the cite that I used to have for someone being fined for lying on the form. Can anyone verify? And certainly don't threaten them, they're still federal employees not matter how obtuse they can be.

If anyone has a different interpretation of the law, please let me know. I'm always happy to learn more.
 
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eye95

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Jan 6, 2010
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Fairborn, Ohio, USA
Just a reminder: No one has ever been fined for failing to answer a Census survey. They don't want the court challenge, so they rely on motivating participation rather than forcing it.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk.

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