May 28th was the last I heard from Census Bureau New York Representative Edward Marcus. Today, after nearly 2 months, I decided to give the New York office a call after reading that you can find out whether your address has been selected for the American Community Survey.
After pressing zero to talk with an attendant I told the person that I wished to confirm that my address had been selected. I was told I’d be forwarded to another department and that I needed to ask for the supervisor. When the other department picked up I told the person I needed to talk with the supervisor and was asked for my name. After a quarter second of contemplation I said, “no.” I’m sure it came off a little harsh. The guy seemed a little taken back and hesitated for at least a second and just said “OK” and put me on hold. Next time its “I’d rather not.”
The supervisor picked up after maybe 10 seconds and I repeated my request. She asked for my county, then my zip, and then my full address. It appeared that the address did not come up as after she had entered the information she asked when I had been contacted. I told her the last letter which I had received was the end of May. She looked up May and confirmed that I had been selected. I then asked her what was next. I hadn’t received anything since that time. I was told that since I was part of the May, 2008 sample and I’d not gotten back to the representative that it didn’t matter any more. I ask: “So that’s it?” and she said: “Yes, the data would no longer be useful.” Unfortunately I forgot to ask about the fine which USC Title 13 clearly says I am to receive for not participating. Her demeanor was such that it seems that the fine hadn’t even been considered by her. She didn’t mention it and when I got my answer she was ready to end the conversation. Perhaps she’s a cold hearted bitch and didn’t mention it because she likes the idea of me being broadsided with a max $5,000 fine and she’s going to contact our friend Edward to let him know I called.
Assuming that’s not the case it looks like the census isn’t so mandatory after all. You just need to wait them out. I originally was going to call Mr. Marcus to ask if the supposed obligation to respond to the ACS had been waived or if I should be expecting a fine. I’ve sort of gotten my answer though it’s not 100%. Perhaps I still will. I’d be nice to have a Census Bureau bureaucrat tell me that all the hubbub and wasted ink and paper threating to fine me was just that.