Tuesday, February 9, 2010

City Census

Question/Comment: A resident expressed several concerns related to the City Census.  He questions the appropriateness of language on the census from stating: "Failure to respond to this mailing shall result in removal from the active voting list and may result in removal from voter registration rolls."  He also feels that the printing of full names on the form is an invasion of privacy.  He would like to know what the active voting list is, why it matters, and how the data collected through the City Census is used. 

City Update 2/11/10: The language above is authorized by the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 and Massachusetts General Law Chapter 51.  The information printed on city census forms is already public record and the Elections Department's main goal is to maintain accurate voting lists.  City census information is mailed to 33,000 + households and it is preprinted for cost effectiveness and accuracy.  A significant number of forms have no changes, so processing these forms can be done quickly through scanning.  Many forms have some changes and these changes are easily recognizable as handwritten changes to preprinted material.  Reading handwriting on every form would be much more time consuming, increasing labor costs, and would likely result in many typos, as we try to decipher everyones' handwriting.  The City's Elections Department still manually process quite a few forms with residents moving in, moving out, etc.

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