Census addresses glitch
The most electronic of all census counts is upon us, and the Census Bureau
already has faced a numbers crisis: 125 million envelopes were misaddressed
by a contractor.
The envelopes contained a letter to be mailed this week alerting the public
that the census is coming. Officials discovered an extra number in front
of every address.
No need to worry, however: "In no way does it put Census 2000 at risk,"
Census Director Kenneth Prewitt said at a press conference Feb. 28.
Never fear, came word from the U.S. Postal Service: "Our high-speed, automated
sorting machines can read the proper address from the bar code on the mail
The contractor responsible for the error was not so calm. It was a vendor's
nightmare, said Anthony Alleghen, the government projects coordinator for
Wisconsin-based Freedom Graphic Systems, which had a $5.9 million contract
for Census work.
The extra digit comes from a code used to identify the type of address on
the envelope. The digit could be a number from 1 to 5, although most often
it's a 1. So, someone at 101 Main St. may wind up with an envelope that
reads 1101 Main St.
But who's counting?
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