Distrust of census process a problem

The anti-government sentiment that sparked the Tea Party movement is brewing a backlash of sorts against the upcoming census by people who say it asks too many questions and intrudes on their privacy.

Such census resisters say the Constitution only empowers the Census Bureau to count the number of people in a household. They say that's the only inquiry they'll respond to when the 10-question census forms are mailed to 130 million households in mid-March.

Gabriel Sanchez, the Dallas-based regional census director, says the claim is wrong.

"The truth is, when the Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution, they gave Congress the power to determine how the census is conducted. The U.S. Supreme Court has again and again upheld how the Census Bureau conducts the census," Sanchez said.

The 2010 form is the shortest in modern history, he said, and asks only simple questions such as age, gender, ethnicity and whether a dwelling is owned or rented.

But a household head count is all the census will get from Robyn Leann Burwell, 30, of Hawley.

"My position, at this point, is that the only constitutional part of it is for them to do a head count," she said. "The bottom line is, I feel like the government has been trying to find ways to get information they don't necessarily need."

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