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When the Census comes knocking

In 2010 the US Census Bureau was grossly overstepping its bounds, exceeding the Constitutional mandate by A BUNCH.

Being a serious Libertarian advocate, I drew their attention.

Today a local friend has found himself in a similar position. Maybe some of you have as well. I published the following in on September 21st, 2010. It is what worked for me then and there. Your Mileage May Vary


found my line

By Ted Dunlap, on September 21st, 2010
Many of us have wondered where their line in the sand is. At what point do you finally stop retreating?

The U.S. Census folks sent us a four-page form in, I think, April. We returned it completed with the information the U.S. Constitution required them to collect every decade: TWO. There are 2 people living here.

They have been doing their share to keep the unemployment numbers low by sending various people here ever since. Always cordial, always pleasant and always leaving without a fuss having accomplished nothing more. We continue to answer “Two”.

Then Friday night, September 17th I find a FedEx package on my doormat when I get home from work. Inside is a one-page letter from the US Census citing some federal code that supposedly tells me, “YOU MUST COMPLY” – You MUST tell us everything we want to know.

I researched Idaho code online. We spent the next morning before work posting NO TRESPASSING signs for a subset of the human race on either side of our driveway. I painted a line across our driveway entrance between the two signs.

NO. I am not adding anything further to their database voluntarily. I have found my line in the sand (and painted the dang thing right onto our asphalt).

I considered armed resistance to trespassers, but am outnumbered for that to work out well.

I am fortunate in having a very strong “IN” with the bail bonds industry.

I re-read the fourth amendment in The Bill of Rights to help refresh my memory on the exact wording of the real law governing the U.S. Census:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated …

I don’t know why this line is mine. There are plenty of usurpations and over-reach to be offended by. But there it is. I am finally ready to endure kidnapping and harassment for a cause. I’m also planning to take names and do whatever I can to make the individuals involved pay any debt they choose to incur.

The text of our signs:

And any agents or affiliates thereof:


Per Idaho Code 18-7011
Violators subject to fine and imprisonment

As we have told you repeatedly, two people live here and have since you began your constitutionally mandated 2010 census. We have been pleasant on every visit, but your last correspondence indicated a change in our relationship. You are no longer welcome visitors. If you trespass, we will call the police and we will press charges.



Editor note May 4, 2022:

I felt that the above left readers wondering what happened next. I published “found my line – update” reprinted below a couple weeks later, but in reviewing it today I wanted to do still more now.

Realizing that a few more photos would help clarify, I added them for this article to show the full context of the notice I served to the US Census Bureau employees.

The upper right photo is of the driveway where they had been welcome to come and pass the time of day, but regularly refused any household information beyond the number of occupants.

On the left is a closer view of the sign to the right of the driveway; nearly identical to the one on the left.

Lower on the right is a photo of the signs and line I painted between them. I am not sure how much of this I had to do, but there was no mistaking my intent and the message I was sending.

– Ted –


found my line – update

By Ted Dunlap, on October 3rd, 2010

A few people were curious about what happened next (found my line post of Sept 21st).

Nothing. So far.

Oh, we corrected a typo on the sign and on the picture thereof attached to my blog.

My phone received two calls Sept 28th from the nice census lady. Both requested a call back. In the first she represented some organization that I didn’t bother to note, but recognize from previous conversations as a front for the census. In the second she represented “the U S Census”. Since I had nothing to add, I did not return the calls.

One friend offered to contact the newspaper and sheriff, who he thought should be interested. I authorized it, but have heard nothing back.

Oh I guess one other nothing was my stepson’s response. He asked who we pissed off. With the situation explained, he assured us he answered each and every question thoroughly and completely.

We still go to work 5 days a week. We pass the signs in our driveway coming and going. There have been no more love letters or hate mail from the Census folks.

I can’t say the lack of action means a thing. I think I’ll take the signs down when I hear that the 2010 census is fully over, the census troops have been sent home and unemployment is unexpectedly up by 500,000.


We are now 12 years down the road and I never did hear from the Census brown shirts again in 2010. I have received some generic mail from them in subsequent years, but never any follow-throughs when I return their forms with only the number of household occupants entered and the rest blank.

Enumeration is their assignment. Other data collection is over-reach.

… doing my small part to help them understand their assignment …

– Ted –