UPDATE---Sunday, May 12

Additional research indicates that this 'imitation survey' has nothing to do with the actual 2020 decennial census, but is merely a multiple choice questionnaire from the Republican National Committee sent to certain Republican voters in Montana. Following the questionnaire, there is an opportunity to donate to the Republican Party. There is a '$15 registration fee', but it is optional and voluntary, just as the donations to the Republican Party.

What is called the 2020 Decennial Census will officially get underway in March of 2020, and Montanans are being asked to watch out for imitation Census Surveys that charge a $15 ‘registration fee’.

Department of Commerce spokesperson Emily Ritter Saunders offers details of the scam census survey.

“The Montana Census and Economic Information Center, which is here at the Montana Department of Commerce, is reminding Montanans that any official Census Bureau surveys will never ask respondents for money to complete those surveys,” said Ritter Saunders. “The surveys will always be postmarked from the U.S. Department of Commerce U.S. Census Bureau. The reason we’re reminding folks about this is because it comes on the heels of an apparent imitation census survey that has been mailed to some Montana voters.”

Ritter Saunders provides more details about the imitation census survey.

“The imitation survey is called the ‘2019 Congressional District Census’ and it was mailed and postmarked by ‘The Republican National Committee’, which has disavowed any involvement with the imitation census,” she said. “It’s asking respondents to pay a minimum $15 for processing the ‘census document’. Any official census bureau information is not going to ask for payment and it will always be postmarked from the U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Census Bureau.”

Ritter Saunders said participating in the census is purely voluntary, but doing so is important to Montana.

“The reason why getting a complete and accurate census count in Montana is because it determines the state’s share of federal funding for the next decade and it could also determine whether or not Montana gets another representative in Congress,” she said.

“The official census is really easy to complete, it’s secure and it’s free.”

For every Montana resident counted, the Census estimates the state will receive almost $2,000 each year for ten years.  That is $20,000 per person over the decade flowing across Montana counties for highway planning, medical assistance, educational programs, need-based support, and infrastructure.