Incoming mail – Census critic’s tactic rapped

A fundraising mailing from one of the harshest critics of the Census Bureau is being denounced as illegal for deceiving recipients into thinking it contains official census documents, the Associated Press reports.

The words “IMPORTANT 2000 CENSUS MATERIALS ENCLOSED” appear above the address label on the mailing by the Atlanta-based Southeastern Legal Foundation.

The mailing is being delivered at the same time as official census forms.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., ranking member on census panel of the House Government Reform Committee, says the mailing violates federal law and may cause citizens to discard the Census Bureau survey along with the solicitation.

She has asked the postal service to investigate.

Mark Glavin, the legal group’s executive director, says the mailing is not deceptive because it bears no similarity to the census forms.

The mailing asks recipients to donate and to sign a petition asking the Census Bureau not to use a statistical method known as sampling to draw conclusions from the census survey.

Census officials say sampling will improve accuracy. In 1990, officials estimated they had undercounted the population by about 4 million, mostly minorities and inner-city residents who tend to vote Democratic.

Republicans fear that sampled data will redraw political lines to their disadvantage, AP reports.

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