“We have had about 7-8 residents already turn in the Lincoln Contest forms,” Lincoln City Clerk Laura Carmack said Monday afternoon.
The controversial contest received much attention when it was first named the “Lincoln Census Lottery.”
City officials quickly pointed out the contest is not, in fact, a lottery and changed the name to better reflect the nature of the game.
Mayor Lew Watson said despite some controversy, the city decided to go ahead with the Lincoln Contest.
“The census is just too important,” he said. “There is no gambling involved because there is no exchange of currency (no purchase necessary to enter). If our contest is illegal, then Publisher’s Clearing House is too.”
Watson said the city requested an opinion from Talladega County District Attorney’s Office.
“The District Attorney’s Office advised against the Lincoln Contest, but said they could find nothing illegal about it,” he said. “We are going ahead with it.”
A letter given out to Lincoln residents states “Lincoln Launches Incentive for Census Count. Win up to $1,500.”
The prize money does not come from city coffers, instead each council member is donating $150, and Watson is putting up $750.
The letter gives residents a break-down of how to comply with the contest rules.
• On March 15th the Census Form was mailed out; it is 10 easy questions.
• Complete the Census Form and bring it to city hall. Drop it in the special locked box which goes to the post office.
• On the City Contest Form (attached below) fill in the form and drop it in the City Contest Box.
• On April 1, the official Census Day, a drawing is held at 5 p.m. for $500.
• At the end of the Census Count period, a second drawing is held for another $500.
Watson said there is a place for residents to estimate what the new Census Count is for the city on the Lincoln Contest form. The person guessing correctly or closest to the actual count will win $500. If there is a tie, the money is divided equally.
Individuals bringing in their Census Forms are also able to spin the city’s special Census Wheel of Fortune for one of many gifts. The number of prizes are limited, and the game will continue until all prizes are given out. Residents bringing in their Census Forms early will receive a free t-shirt while supplies last.
Residents who receive mail at the post office will not receive a Census Form in the mail, since the Census does not mail to post office boxes. The Lincoln Public Library will soon have Census Forms for those residents to fill out.
Only one Lincoln Contest Form per address is permitted. Participants must turn in the Census Form at the Lincoln Public Library or city hall to participate. Individuals must reside inside city limits to participate.