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Bob Barr: Census workers can enter your apartment in your absence

2008 Libertarian Party Presidential candidate (and 2010 national convention keynote speaker) Bob Barr writes in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Thousands of census workers, including many temporary employees, are fanning out across America to gather information on the citizenry. This is a process that takes place not only every decade in order to complete the constitutionally-mandated census; but also as part of the continuing “American Community Survey” conducted by the Census Bureau on a regular basis year in and year out.

What many Americans don’t realize, is that census workers — from the head of the Bureau and the Secretary of Commerce (its parent agency) down to the lowliest and newest Census employee — are empowered under federal law to actually demand access to any apartment or any other type of home or room that is rented out, in order to count persons in the abode and for “the collection of statistics.” This is even if there are security measures like additional locks on doors and home security camera for apartment buildings. If the landlord of such apartment or other leased premises refuses to grant the government worker access to your living quarters, whether you are present or not, the landlord can be fined $500.00.

That’s right — not only can citizens be fined if they fail to answer the increasingly intrusive questions asked of them by the federal government under the guise of simply counting the number of people in the country; but a landlord must give them access to your apartment whether you’re there or not, in order to gather whatever “statistics” the law permits.

In fact, some census workers apparently are going even further and demanding — and receiving — private cell phone numbers from landlords in order to call tenants and obtain information from them. Isn’t it great to live in a “free” country?

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  1. Steven R Linnabary Steven R Linnabary June 1, 2010

    This is absolutely not true. I am a census worker, and we are told we are not even able to open the screen door a crack in order to leave a notice of visit.


    But I’ve got a fistful (6) of “Notice of Visit” notices that have been stuck inside my screen door. Apparently having my name and the number of persons living on premise (1, myself) isn’t enough.


  2. The Occasionally Not So Brilliant Bob Barr ………. Lake // May 28, 2010 at 6:50 pm

    Howdy to Alabama’s Barr mole Steven Gordon …..

    told ya so, told ya so ………..

  3. Alan Pyeatt Alan Pyeatt May 30, 2010

    Oh, damn! I hope they don’t read that… : )

  4. Alan Pyeatt Alan Pyeatt May 30, 2010

    Well, the census worker who showed up at our house (and the one who called later) didn’t get Jill or Marcus’s name, and didn’t request entry.

  5. SSSSSS SSSSSS May 28, 2010

    TITLE 13 > CHAPTER 7 > SUBCHAPTER II > § 223
    Prev | Next § 223. Refusal, by owners, proprietors, etc., to assist census employees

    Whoever, being the owner, proprietor, manager, superintendent, or agent of any hotel, apartment house, boarding or lodging house, tenement, or other building, refuses or willfully neglects, when requested by the Secretary or by any other officer or employee of the Department of Commerce or bureau or agency thereof, acting under the instructions of the Secretary, to furnish the names of the occupants of such premises, or to give free ingress thereto and egress therefrom to any duly accredited representative of such Department or bureau or agency thereof, so as to permit the collection of statistics with respect to any census provided for in subchapters I and II of chapter 5 of this title, or any survey authorized by subchapter IV or V of such chapter insofar as such survey relates to any of the subjects for which censuses are provided by such subchapters I and II, including, when relevant to the census or survey being taken or made, the proper and correct enumeration of all persons having their usual place of abode in such premises, shall be fined not more than $500.

  6. Jim Howard Jim Howard May 28, 2010

    Bob Barr is not telling the truth. It is a lie. He knows it is not the truth.
    Census workers CAN NOT enter your apartment. Not even if you are there unless you ask them to enter.
    Since the story is a flat out lie by Bob Barr my recommendation is that you NOT believe anything that he writes about.

  7. Jocko Jocko May 27, 2010

    Census takers do not have the right to enter someone’s home without permission, in fact, they aren’t allow to open a storm door to leave a Notice of Visit. Bob Barr is full of it.

  8. L L May 27, 2010

    This is absolutely not true. I am a census worker, and we are told we are not even able to open the screen door a crack in order to leave a notice of visit. Although we are able to use landlords for proxies, they do not get fined for not having all the tenants info. This is just a scare tactic to keep people from being counted. God forbid the American Government should have accurage records of how many people live in a house hold. this is drivel…

  9. Steve Steve May 27, 2010

    Maybe it would be better to have ACORN do the census, then they can just write down that Mickey Mouse and the Dallas Cowboys live at my residence and don’t have to come and harass me.

  10. paulie paulie May 27, 2010

    Luke, that interpretation never occurred to me. : is the same thing as “says,” so I don’t see how your fix fixes anything. I’ve done tons of headlines with the same formula: Author: title of their article.

    While there are things I disagree with Mr. Barr about, this isn’t one of them. He is completely correct about this, and I’m glad he is drawing public attention to the problem.

  11. Luke Luke May 27, 2010

    btw nothing against IPR in my prev. post. I meant to say, a title like, “Bob Barr says Census Workers might try to enter your apartment in your absence” would be a better title. But, alas, I do not own IPR, and I’m sure you had a reason for your title.

  12. Luke Luke May 27, 2010

    Deceptive title. Sounds like you are out to get Bob Barr, yet you do not have a mainstream backing (i.e. WSJ or NYT who is always biased). Otherwise, thanks for reporting.

  13. jim deffendall jim deffendall May 27, 2010

    they better be arm so the have at least a chance to get out alive.

  14. Jill Pyeatt Jill Pyeatt May 27, 2010

    Just let one of ’em try to get in my house while I’m gone….I hope my killer dachshund scares the living heck out of them!

    Seriously, this would not be taken well, and I think census workers might be risking serious bodily harm if they try to do this.

Comments are closed.