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Copyright © 1998-2006, Gary Martens, All Rights Reserved
Garden County News
July 20, 1917
Oskosh, Garden County, Nebraska
DRAWING MAY BEGIN SATURDAY
Drawing of lots for the selective draft not only will determine what men are to be called to the first war army, but will show in what order the others will be liable for service when later armies are organized. It was revealed tonight that a plan of drawing would be followed under which a definite place in the waiting lists will be given everyone of the millions who registered. Those standing at the head of the list in each county or city district will be called first before the examination boards and then the obligation will pass on down the lines as men are needed.
This does not mean that a separate name or number will be drawn for everyone of the country's 9,800,000 registrants. In fact, every number drawn, under the theory of the plan, will represent more than four thousand men, one for each of the registration districts.
OUTLINE OF THE SYSTEM
Details of the system have not been made public, but an outline of its principal features follows:
Every registration board has numbered the cards in its possession in red ink, beginning at No. 1 and continuing to a number corresponding with the total in the district. At the drawing numbers will be used ranging No. 1 to a number corresponding to the total in the largest district in the country. The first number drawn will determine what man in each district is to be taken first. If it be No. 10 for example, it will mean that the man holding card No. 10 will be called for examination before any of the other mean in that district.
The second number drawn will determine what man is to be taken second, and so on as long as men are needed. Those not needed for the first war army will retain their positions on the list and these will determine the order of their liability when they are needed.
DRAWING TO MADE PUBLIC
The drawing will be public and each number will be announced as it is drawn. At the offices of most local exemption boards the red ink numbers of the registrants are already posted, so that registrants may inform themselves before hand of their respective numbers.
Obviously there will be high numbers drawn for which there are no corresponding registrants in small districts. The smallest district in the country is understood to have but 187 registrants and the largest about 7,000. Whenever a number beyond the total in any given district comes out it will operate as a blank for that district. Thus if the theory works out evenly, the larger districts will be constantly assessed in excess of the smaller on a pro rata basis corresponding to their size.
Liability will be fixed by the order in which the names come out. There are some 6,000 districts with numbered registration cards, so the first number drawn will represent the first 6,000 to appear before the exemption boards.
It is estimated that 50 percent of the men examined will be exempted or fail to pass the physical examination so more than a million probably will appear before the board before the 687,000 or more wanted on the first call are obtained.
The drawing will be held during the week of July 23. Only twenty-four states have completed the organization of their exemption boards and the posting of red ink numbers. The drawing cannot be held until all states are complete so that no juggling of numbers will be possible.
The drawing will probably be held in the big reception room of the War Department, adjoining Secretary Baker's offices.
ALL DETAILS NOT DISCLOSED
Officials are unwilling to disclose the details, but the suggestion which seems to have the most support is that the numbers, stamped on thin slips of paper, will be inclosed in non-transparent gelatin capsules and placed in a large glass vessel, to be removed one at a time.
The number of capsules which will be necessary will be equal to the total in the largest district. Thus, under the present arrangement 7,000 numbers will have to be drawn. Information so far available indicted that the drawing will work out this way. There are 4,550 exemption districts. When the first number is drawn-say No. 10-it will be recorded with the serial number (10) following. The record would show that the men whose cards bear the serial number 10 in each of the 4,550 exemption districts would be the first to appear before the exemption boards. Presumably the announcement made at the drawing would be No. 1, serial No. 10.
To prevent embarrassment among those who are exempt the War Department has decided to give with each exemption certificate a bronze badge bearing the inscription. "Exempted-U.S." It is desired to prevent any suspicion of being slackers.
The law specifies that exemptions are not permanent unless the cause for which they are granted is permanent. For instance, if a man should be exempted on the first call because of a dependent relative and that relative should die or become self---supporting before the second call the registrant would be liable for service under the second call. It will be the duty of the exemption boards to keep watch of such cases and recall the men who have been passed over once, but whose statue may have changed before the second call is made.
FEAR OF FURTHER POSTPONEMENT
Some fear was felt at the War Department today that the delays in organization might cause further postponement of the draft. It is believed that the drawing might take place Saturday of this week. It then became evident that it could not be held before next week and indications that it might be the latter part of the week before everything was ready. One of the states where there has been the most confusion is New York. The new estimate of population by the census bureau as a basis for the draft, it is explained, is not to be taken as a genuine indication of the actual population of cities and communities. As the object of the estimates is to fix a fair basis or establishing local quotas, industrial centers with disproportionately large numbers of young men subject to draft have been given figures, probably considerably in excess of the number of people actually within their borders.
As soon as the local organizations are complete, appointment of the district exemption boards will be announced. These boards, one or more in each federal judicial district, will pass upon the appeals from the local bodies and will have jurisdiction over claims for exemptions on account of industrial and agricultural or other necessary enterprises.
Examination for the
boards proposed from forty-five states already have been sent to
the President by the provost marshal general's office.