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AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap’s office said Tuesday it will not be providing driver’s license records that typically include citizenship data to the U.S. Census Bureau after a request from the administration of President Donald Trump.
The Republican president’s administration is asking the states to volunteer the information after the U.S. Supreme Court blocked it from including a citizenship question in its 2020 population count earlier this year, according to The Associated Press. Illinois has also denied the request.
The federal government has been asking for monthly reports on information from licenses issued between 2018 and 2023 since mid-September, according to emails to Dunlap’s office. It claims the information it’s asking for — which includes driver’s licenses or identification card numbers, race and citizenship status — will be kept confidential and used to verify the census.
But Kristen Muszynski, a spokeswoman for Dunlap, a Democrat whose office runs the motor vehicles bureau, said it will not provide the information because of a state law preventing it from releasing bulk data that includes personally identifying information. She also said the department is not capable of providing monthly reports of the requested information.
“As administrators of Maine’s motor vehicle records, we view our duty as twofold: to the people of Maine who are required to obtain credentials for motor vehicle operation and to the law enforcement officials of Maine who require certain information from our agency to enforce motor vehicle laws,” Muszynski said in a statement.
The American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators told the Associated Press the majority of states recently received similar requests and is advising their privacy officers on how to respond.
Efforts to collect citizenship information have been opposed by civil rights groups like the American Civil Liberties Union, which has argued that doing so would make immigrants and other minorities less likely to participate in the census and skew the data.