How far will Kristi Noem go to please Donald Trump? How about handing him your driver license data so he can circumvent a court order and rig elections for his failing party the next ten years?
South Dakota Public Safety Secretary Craig Price — who was appointed to President Trump’s commission on law enforcement earlier this year — signed an agreement in April to share information from driver’s licenses and state ID cards with the U.S. Census Bureau, according to a copy of the memorandum of understanding the state’s department of public safety provided to NPR.
Over the past year since the Trump administration failed in its attempt to add the now-blocked citizenship question to 2020 census forms, the Census Bureau has been gathering state and federal records under directives from Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who oversees the bureau, and an executive order Trump issued last July [Hansi Lo Wang, “South Dakota Is Sharing Driver’s License Info to Help Find Out Who’s a Citizen,” NPR, 2020.07.14].
The state chooses not to answer the reporter’s question of why South Dakota would do such a thing and simply says we can do such a thing:
…Asked why the South Dakota Department of Public Safety decided to enter into this data-sharing agreement with the bureau, spokesperson Tony Mangan replied by email: “South Dakota’s Driver Licensing program is authorized to share information for use by any government agency in carrying out its functions. Information was provided at the request of the U.S. Census Bureau to carry out its function” [Wang, 2020.07.14].
We understand the real reason Trump is harvesting our personal data—gerrymandering:
Using that kind of information to exclude U.S. citizens under 18 and noncitizens — both those lawfully and unlawfully in the country — when redrawing districts, would be “advantageous to Republicans and Non-Hispanic Whites,” a GOP redistricting strategist concluded [Wang, 2020.07.14].
Ah, so maybe that’s why our Republican Legislature and Republican Governor were finally willing enact a law allowing us to give driver’s license tests in Spanish: they wanted more immigrants to come in and get driver’s licenses, then hand that info to the Census so they could use it to purge immigrants from the redistricting maps and disperse minority communities into larger Republican-dominated districts.
Of course, 2020 Senate Bill 70’s Spanish driver tests won’t be offered until January 1, 2021, so those data won’t affect the 2020 Census… and we’ll have time to crush the Grand Old Pandemic Party under the lasting shame of the damage they did with just one term of Trump by demonstrating what a solid decade of Democratic governance can do to save the world.