Lee Co. man claims many left out of census - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Lee Co. man claims many left out of census

By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –  A Lee County man claims entire neighborhoods were left out of the census.

He says return rates for households that got forms has been great, but he says census workers must now head out to many homes they shouldn't have to visit. He even sent letters to officials in Washington to try to make the Census count more accurate.

In his letter Bob Rehberg says there's no doubt people were missed in the 2010 census.  Through his experience in canvassing and quality control he witnessed several shortcomings and now he's sharing those with the government in an effort to keep it from happening again.

Larry Nixon's lived in his Leighton Drive home for the last three years, but didn't get a census form in his mailbox, nor did a lot of his neighbors off of Creekside Drive.

"I should have gotten a form or at least I thought I should have anyway," said Larry Nixon.

He secured one and mailed it in on his own. While Lee County's return rate was the highest in the state at 83 percent Bob Rehberg who worked on address canvassing in Lee and Dougherty Counties and quality control says that still doesn't account for all the homes that were missed.

"This one person had left out three subdivisions, one of which had over 200 houses in it," said Bob Rehberg, US Census canvassing and quality control.

That situation was caught but others weren't.

"That person and other people were allowed to send their work in un-reviewed," said Rehberg.

Even Commissioner Ed Duffy who's lived in his Creekside Drive home for more than 41 years didn't get a form. For each person not counted it costs the county $1,700 and with budget negotiations tight.

"Every dollar does count with us trying to balance this budget because when you're as much out of balance as we are right now and we're asking people to take cuts in their budget," said Duffy.

Lee County's not alone Rehberg caught problem in Terrell County too.

"What I found in Terrell County the very first two assignment areas I went to failed the quality control check," said Rehberg.

He hopes by calling attention to the issue changes might be made next time.

We faxed a copy of Rehberg's letter to the Census Office in Atlanta to get their reaction. They're looking into the matter and have promised to get back to us. Our local census office did not return our calls.

Census workers are still canvassing missed homes around southwest Georgia. If you didn't receive a census form you can still get one from your county or wait for a visit from a Census worker.

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