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by Abigail Van Buren

Man on the Wagon Nags His Friends to Join Him

DEAR ABBY: I am a census worker and knock on doors to interview people who have not sent in their census forms. I am concerned that so many people are reluctant to participate in the census. Please help us get the word out.

A real census worker will never ask to come inside your house or any questions about personal finance or your employment. If you are not sure who is at your door, ask for the person's picture identification, such as a driver's license.

By now, everyone should have received a census form in the mail. The deadline was very important. Once the deadline passed, the addresses of all the non-respondents were turned over to us: the non-response follow-up team. In order to prevent someone from being counted twice, once the non-response follow-up list was compiled, the rest of the forms out there were no longer collected or counted.

If you mailed in your census questionnaire, but a census worker still shows up at your door, it is because your questionnaire was not received in time. So please bear with your enumerator because he or she has to interview you again. Please take a few minutes to make your voice heard because your participation is important. -- YOUR CENSUS WORKER

DEAR CENSUS WORKER: I'm glad to help spread the word.

Readers, taking the time to participate in the census is not only important, but it's also to your advantage. The census is how your representation in Congress is determined. And in addition, the census is used to determine how federal funds will be used to build hospitals, schools and highways in your community. And by the way, the census is mandated by the U.S. Constitution and has been conducted every 10 years since 1790!