Census snafu baffles homeland committee
“Boy, are we in trouble now,” announced Homeland Security Committee Chair Ork Dorken as he walked across the squeaky community hall floor and took his seat behind the shaky table made from a bashed-up hallow-core door.
“What’s the beef?” asked Orville Jordan, the retired railroad agent, as he raised his green eye shade higher on his forehead.
“Old Sievert included Dog in the Census and that’s a crime,” responded Security Officer Garvey Erfald.
“Well, he eats at my house most of the year so I thought he should be included,” Old Sievert explained. “So I took the form they left hanging on Ferdo’s Forge & Repair since Ferdo’s been closed for 40 years and dead for 27 and I filled it out for Dog.”
“Them Census people sure know that a form from Dog is a fake,” Einar Torvald observed as he looked for a place to unload a cheek full of Peerless chewing tobacco.
“I’m not dumb,” Old Sievert insisted. “I listed him as ‘I. M. Dogg’ and reported him as Asian cause he looked more Asian than any other choices.”
“I don’t see why this is a town problem,” adjudged Hank Dvorchek. “He did it on his own; he can go to jail on his own.”
“It isn’t that simple,” Ork elucidated. “The town gets $100 a year in state payments for each resident and now we will be getting $100 for Dog. When the state finds that out we’ll all get hauled in for fraud and North Dakota will be Number One in public corruption for another 10 years.”
“Can’t we file an amended Census report or something?” asked Jordan.
“That would just open up a Congressional investigation and then they’ll want to know why we donated our stimulus money to the annual New Year’s Old-Timers Shuffle at Edgerton instead of using it for job creation” warned Holger Danske.
Just then Madeleine Morgan, the immigrant from Montana, glorified the hall with her presence.
“I’m back from Billings for the summer,” she announced as she sat on the least worst of the remaining chairs.
“Did you fill out your Census?” asked Ork. “The town needs every body it can get to keep our property taxes down. With our valuation, every person is worth 30 mills in state payments.”
“I filed in Montana because that’s where I was on April 1,” she replied to Ork’s inquiry.
“That’s not right,” Garvey protested. “You live here most of the time so we should get credit for you.”
“Well, anyway, that solves our problem,” Old Sievert said with a sigh of relief.”We lost Morgan and got Dog so our Census comes out even and the State will not get suspicious. Two wrongs sometimes do make a right.”
The 13 other electors present weren’t sure of the logic but they were glad to end the meeting so they could get out and plant early peas and radishes.
Omdahl is a UND professor emeritus in political science and a former lieutenant governor of North Dakota.
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