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Karl Rove ad urges residents to fill out census

Karl Rove, the former political adviser to President George W. Bush, is appearing in a public service announcement asking people to fill out and mail back their 2010 census forms.

Rove invokes James Madison, the nation's fourth president and principal author of the U.S. Constitution, in the ad released Monday.

"If you've not yet mailed back your 2010 Census form, it's not too late. Please answer the 10 easy questions," Rove says. "They're almost the same ones that Madison helped write for the first census back in 1790."

Rove, now an analyst for Fox News, might appeal to conservatives wary of government forms that seek personal information.

To reach minority residents, 98-year-old civil rights icon Dorothy Height is also appearing in a new census ad. Height was the longtime president of the National Council of Negro Women and was a leading female voice of the 1960s civil rights movement.

"You have the power to benefit your community for the next 10 years. You have the right to be counted," Height says in the ad. "It is your civic duty. Don't let anybody or anything stop you."

Rove and Height join a growing list of celebrities and public figures to appear in ads encouraging residents to mail back their census forms. Others include President Barack Obama, Miss America Caressa Cameron, singer Donny Osmond, Olympic athletes, Major League Baseball players, NASCAR drivers, mayors and members of Congress. The celebrities all donated their time, the Census Bureau said.

People have until mid-April to mail back their forms and avoid a visit from a census taker. As of Monday, about 60 percent of households had mailed back their forms, according to the Census Bureau.

The 10-year count is important because it is used to divvy up congressional seats among the states, which in turn use the numbers to draw up districts for state legislatures. Information from the census is also used to determine how more than $400 billion dollars in federal funding is spent each year.

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On the Web:

2010 Census: http://2010.census.gov/2010census/index.php