The state is launching an aggressive campaign to convince reluctant citizens to fill out their census form.
Lansing is on the top ten list of cities were citizens are reluctant to send any information to the federal government.
A lineup of leaders are pushing everyone to fill out the U.S. Census but they are fighting two issues.
First is trust.
“People don’t trust so we have to restore that trust,” said state Sen. Jim Ananich.
In addition to trust, there’s “big government” spying fears.
Heaster Wheeler, assistant Secretary of State, explains, “people are basically suspicious of government intervention into their private lives.”
Lansing is number seven on the top ten list of areas where some residents are reluctant to send anything to the government.
Lansing city clerk Chris Swope explains, “low-income, African-Americans are among the populations that we need to focus on and immigrant populations.”
Skubick: “If you are an immigrant in this climate, you are not going to sign anything.”
Swope: “Census data is locked up and not available to any other agency of the government for years.”
Some census leaders believe that the president has created an atmosphere that makes it even tough to win over reluctant citizens.
“Yes. There is this issue,” said Rep. Tyrone Carter. “They are more likely to fill it out with someone they trust so that this is not going to Washington and our community is going to be bombarded with agents or something like that.”
And another X factor on the trust issue, is the ability of the Russian to hack into this private data. Could that happen?
“I don’t know if we have any expectations of privacy and security anymore so I don’t know and don’t have the best answer but probably yes,” adds Wheeler. “But that’s not the highest priority. I want to find some of those black Russians who are likely to participate down in the neighborhood.”
Michigan had a 78% participation rate ten years ago and sponsors argue if you don’t cooperate Michigan will lose billions of federal dollars for health care, education, roads and aid to seniors.
And the leaders argue many Michigan taxpayers now send to Washington will go to other states instead.