Do You Live in Vermont?

Then This Urgent Action Is for You.

Oppose H 176
Legislation Would Force Young Men to Register for the Draft in order to get Driver’s License

House Transportation Committee Meeting, tomorrow, Thursday, April 23, 2009
H 176, now under consideration in the House Transportation Committee of the General Assembly of the State of Vermont Legislature, would automatically register young men with the Selective Service when they apply for a driver’s license. If this bill is passed, it would remove freedom of choice for young men in Vermont regarding Selective Service (draft) registration—which is an important matter of conscience and religious freedom for some. While the bill explicitly applies to those applying for a driver’s license, it also applies to applying for a photo ID from the state. Without a photo ID one could not board an airplane or even purchase an Amtrak ticket! This law would virtually deny those who cannot in good conscience register with Selective Service the right to travel.

Young men are required by federal law to register with the Selective Service although currently no one is being drafted. Failure to register is a federal felony, and if convicted, non-registrants face serious penalties. But there have been no prosecutions since the mid-1980’s. Instead, the federal government and many states have adopted measures to coerce young men to register.

This law will not only affect those who choose not to register but will affect those who choose to register with the information that they are conscientious objectors to war on their registration. With this compulsive registration at the age of 16, there will be no opportunity for conscientious objectors to make that belief known.

Vermont has been one state that has stood firmly in support of freedom.

A fundamental question to be asked to Vermont legislators is, if the federal government is not enforcing the Selective Service registration law, why should the state of VT expend money and effort to ensure compliance?

Important points about H-176 that members of the General Assembly of the State of VT should understand

  1. There is no provision in the law to charge Selective Service for this action, thus shifting the cost of registering such men from the Selective Service System to the State of VT.
  2. This law opens Vermont to the possibility of lawsuits for improperly registering people. Driver licenses in VT are available at age 16, and H-176 authorizes the registration of young men with Selective Service at the age of 16. However Selective Service law applies to males between the ages of 18 and 26 and federal regulations explicitly state, “No person who is not required by selective service law or the Proclamation of the President to register shall be registered.” (32CFR1615.5) Young men who have not yet turned 18 cannot legally be registered. In addition, minors are not allowed to legally enter into contracts, and this law attempts to usurp parental rights by forcing them to register their minor children.
  3. This is a further violation of Federal Law because under H-176 the application for a license “shall serve as registration.” Yet the Selective Service law very clearly states that someone who is required to register must “present himself for and submit to registration.” (50USC App. 453(a)) Neither a parent nor a state can legally “register” someone else.

What You Can Do

  1. Send a message to the House Transportation Committee State Senator. Explain why you believe this bill should be defeated. Contact for the Committee is Fran Cerulli 802-828-2231.

Members of the Committee are:

Westman of Cambridge, Chair
Potter of Clarendon, Vice Chair
Audette of South Burlington, Ranking Member
Aswad of Burlington
Brennan of Colchester
Burke of Brattleboro
Corcoran of Bennington
Courcelle of Rutland City, Clerk
Howrigan of Fairfield
Lanpher of Vergennes
Peaslee of Guildhall

Their contact information can be found at:

Send a message to your Vermont legislator even if he or she is not on the committee. Explain why you believe this bill should be defeated.

Please forward this alert to others who share your concerns.

Yours for Peace and Justice,

J. E. McNeil
Executive Director
Center on Conscience & War