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DRIVING AND DRAFT REGISTRATION MIGHT MIX

May 26, 2001 – Male Virgin Islands residents 18 through 25 years of age will be able to register for the Selective Service electronically at the same time they apply for a driver's license if the Legislature approves a bill submitted by Gov. Charles W. Turnbull.
According to a Government House release issued Friday, the bill is intended "to protect Virgin Islands residents from the penalties associated with failing to register with the U.S. Selective Service System and to help ensure that all future drafts are fair and equitable to all potential draftees."
Although no one has been drafted into the U.S. armed services since 1973, males residing in the United States (with certain exceptions), including resident aliens and those with dual citizenship, are required to register upon turning 18. Penalties for failure to do so include disqualification from work in federal and federally funded government positions, denial of federal student college loans, exclusion from federally funded job-training programs and, in the case of immigrants, loss of eligibility for U.S. citizenship.
And the law provides for criminal prosecution, with conviction carrying a maximum penalty of up five years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines.
Since 1999, it has been possible to register for Selective Service on the Internet simply by going to www.sss.gov. After keying in the requested information, an applicant instantly receives a registration number. Registrants also can report a new address or other change in status online.
At the end of last year, 88 percent of Selective Service-eligible males were registered. To boost that percentage, the system is promoting simultaneous registration with application for a new or renewed driver's license or state identification card. Typically, state public safety or motor vehicle departments include a statement on their applications telling the applicant that by submitting the application he is consenting to his registration with Selective Service if so required.
Registration is accomplished through an arrangement each state or territory has with the data-sharing system of the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, at no cost to the state or territory.
According to the Selective Service web site, seven states have driver's license laws supporting registration — Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Oklahoma and Utah. Laws have been passed and are waiting governors' signatures in Colorado, Florida, Illinois and Texas. And draft bills are under consideration in California, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, the Northern Marianas, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Tennessee, the Virgin Islands and Wisconsin.
There have been repeated congressional efforts to do away with the Selective Service, none of them successful to date. A bill now before the House of Representatives, introduced by Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.) with six co-sponsors, would eliminate the system. Selective Service officials, supported by the Pentagon, say although the United States has had an all-volunteer army since President Nixon signed legislation ending the draft in 1973, there is still a need to maintain a database of draft-eligible men. The courts have upheld the constitutionality of an all-male draft.

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