Critical Legislation to Prevent Deceptive Look-Alike Census Mailings Passes Senate

WASHINGTON – Today the Senate unanimously passed the Prevent Deceptive Census Look-Alike Mailings Act (H.R.4621), legislation that aims to ban non-government mailings that intentionally mimic official census forms. The House of Representatives had also passed the legislation unanimously on March 10, 2010 and the bill now goes to President Obama for his signature.
“These types of deceptive mailings that this legislation bans are disgraceful,” said Sen. Carper, chair of the Senate Subcommittee that has jurisdiction over the Census. “It is critical that people have confidence and trust in the Census process and these mailings confuse people and jeopardize our efforts to have a full and accurate count. Not only is this deceptive, but it is costly for taxpayers because every 1 percent decrease in the mail response rate costs taxpayers approximately $85 million to send census workers back to re-count. We are doing everything in our power to ensure that we have a successful decennial Census and banning these despicable practices is an important part of that process.”
The legislation would require any mailing with an envelope marked “Census” to clearly indicate the sender and return address. It would also trigger an existing requirement in federal law to include a disclaimer that the mailing is not from, or affiliated with, the federal government. The bill would not prohibit the use of the word “Census” on a mailing, but the mailer must make clear that it was not sent by the United States Census Bureau.