Poe: Make the American Community Survey Optional

Last week, I introduced H.R. 2255, a bill that would make the American Community Survey voluntary. Under the Constitution, the federal government must conduct a Census every ten years to account for the population. To do so, the decennial Census includes ten basic questions. However, the Constitution does not authorize the federal government to issue an annual, mandatory survey to 3 million Americans, called the American Community Survey (ACS). The ACS asks each recipient dozens of personal questions about mental disabilities in the home, personal financial information, whether you have a toilet and what time you leave for and return from work each day. Under current law, those who choose not to respond to the ACS are threatened with a criminal penalty.

The Federal Government has no right to force Americans to tell the government personal information that they are uncomfortable providing just because the federal government says so. I have heard from countless Texans who are uncomfortable with the American Community Survey’s intrusive questions, but they feel intimidated and forced to participate because of the threat of a criminal penalty. Penalizing private citizens for not filling out a government-mandated survey is an abuse of government power.


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