After a decade of taking roll with handheld computers, it’s back to pens and paper for the U.S. Census Bureau’s San Joaquin County dress rehearsal.
Congress ruled last week that digital counting would be ditched, reverting the agency’s technology to where it was a decade ago. That means no workers will be hired to conduct the door-to-door census, agency spokeswoman Barbara Ferry said.
To participate, residents will have to fill out and mail questionnaires that will be sent to them.
Having no in-person follow-up will inevitably make the final count less than perfect, Ferry said.
"But the integrity of the county is so important," she said, "which is why we’ll rely solely on people responding to our mailing."
Since 1998, when the agency began using computer counts, as many as 2,000 workers would go door-to-door for the census count.
The applicants already tested and accepted for positions will stay on a roster of workers for the decennial count in 2010, Ferry said.