WASHINGTON, D.C.—This week, Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02) introduced H.R. 1305, 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. The decennial Census asks 10 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 extremely 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. The survey is not optional, mandatory with a criminal penalty if not completed.

“The Federal Government does not have the right to force Americans to disclose personal information just because they say so,” said Rep. Poe. “This survey is another example of unnecessary and completely unwarranted government intrusion. The purpose of the Census is to apportion congressional seats and levy direct taxes. The American Community Survey does nothing to further this mission, it instead collects information on American’s toilet flushing patterns. This mandatory intrusion by the federal government is unacceptable. The American Community Survey should be optional for citizens to complete.”