Staff Editorial

People should make voices heard through census

The 2010 Census officially got underway Jan. 25 when Census Bureau Director Robert Groves flew to Alaska to count citizens in the isolated town of Noorvik.

Copies of the census were sent to every household in the country with the request that families take 10 minutes to fill out the paperwork and mail it back as soon as they finished.

One quick glance at the questionnaire is all it takes to realize that 10 minutes should be more than enough time to come up with the answers, as the toughest question is “What is your telephone number?” Yet as simple as it might be to humor the government by filling out the forms and sending them back in a timely fashion, many Texans have decided to either procrastinate or blatantly protest the census by refusing to fill their surveys out.

As of Tuesday, Texas was tied with New Mexico, Louisiana and Mississippi for the lowest household return percentage in the nation at 44 percent according to the Census Bureau’s Web site.

There is no good reason for Texans to not participate in the census. Citizens who think they’re being patriotic in some way by making it harder for the government to count them are only costing taxpayers more money. The Census Bureau will have to send census takers to all households that failed to return their forms in the mail, and at the current rate of return that certainly won’t be cheap.

But the larger problem is that states’ representation in Congress is determined from the Census Bureau’s population count. Texans who refrain from taking part in the census could end up costing the state seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Anyone who thinks they’re inaction is making a statement is misguided; the only message people who don’t participate in the census are sending is one of ignorance.

The census is ironically scheduled to conclude on April Fool’s Day, and the joke will be on Texans if we don’t do our part to ensure that our state gets fair representation in Congress.

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