As most U.S. genealogists already know, the U.S. Census Bureau conducts a census every ten years. The 2010 census will be conducted by mail over the next few weeks. However, be cautious when you receive an envelope that is marked, “Do Not Destroy, Official Document” and also states “2010 Congressional District Census,” the letter uses a capital “C,” the same as the Census Bureau.
It wasn’t sent by the Census Bureau, and it isn’t official. It is a solicitation for you to send money to a political party.
The letter that looks like an official government mailing was, in fact, sent by the Republican Party which is seeking input and money from GOP voters – seemingly under the guise of the U.S. Census Bureau.
“Strengthening our Party for the 2010 elections is going to take a massive grass-roots effort all across America. That is why I have authorized a Census to be conducted of every Congressional District in the country,” GOP Chairman Michael Steele says in a letter mailed nationwide.
As described above, the letter was sent in plain white envelopes marked “Do Not Destroy, Official Document.” Labeled “2010 Congressional District Census,” the letter uses a capital “C,” the same as the Census Bureau. It also includes a “Census Tracking Code.”
The letter makes a plea for money and accompanies a form asking voters to identify their political leanings and issues important to them. There are no disclaimers that participation in the GOP effort is voluntary; participation in the government census is required by law. Failure to participate in the government census carries a $5,000 fine, though it is rarely enforced.
You can read many online articles about this trick mailing if you start at http://www.google.com/search?source=ig&hl=en&rlz=&=&q=census+letter+republican&aq=f&aqi=&oq=.
[This is a reprint of a March 4, 2010 article from Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter blog, and is published here with permission. The newsletter is free, so why not give it a try at http://blog.eogn.com/eastmans_online_genealogy/.]
© 2010 Copyright, Norman R. Brown