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Bridge march will highlight Census effort

SELMA — This area stands now at 52 percent returning their 2010 census forms, but that’s not good enough officials say.

Today at 11 a.m. city, county and other officials will stage a march on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, part of the national “March to the Mailbox” to draw attention to participation in the 2010 Census.

“We’re still a long way off,” said Mayor George Evans, who has spearheaded the drive in Selma to see 100 percent participation. “Fifty-two percent it’s got to be better than that. We hope to get 80-to-90 percent at least in terms of numbers.”

Through “March to the Mailbox” the Census Bureau hopes to draw attention of those who have yet to respond to the 10-question form.

The Census Bureau will begin on April 19 to put together addresses from which nobody returned a form so census takers can make personal visits, beginning May 1.

People are urged to return their forms by April 16.

Earlier this week, the Census Bureau noted six states, Alabama among them, about low response rates.

“Every household that fails to send back their census form by mail must be visited by a census taker starting in May at significant taxpayer cost,” said Census Director Robert Groves in a prepared statement. “The easiest and best way to be counted in the census is to fill out and return your form by mail.”

Census Bureau officials estimate it costs about 42 cents if the form is mailed back. If a worker has to make a face-to-face visit, the government cost goes up to $57. Bureau officials also estimated if everyone mailed back their forms, the federal government would save $1.5 billion.