The Vietnam Draft was a really shady draft, response was so negative that the U.S. stopped drafts after
Thousands of young American men chose exile in Canada or Sweden rather than risk conscription. At that time,
only a fraction of all men of draft age were actually conscripted; and most of those subjected to the draft were too young
to vote or drink in most states, the Selective Service System office ("Draft Board") in each locality had broad discretion
on whom to draft and whom to exempt where there was no clear guideline for exemption. The charges of unfairness led to the
institution of a draft lottery for the year 1970 in which a young man's birthday determined his relative risk of being drafted
(September 14 was the birthday at the top of the draft list for 1970; the following year July 9 held this distinction). The
image of young people being forced to risk their lives in the military but not allowed to vote or drink also successfully
pressured legislators to lower the voting age nationally and the drinking age in many states.
In order to gain an exemption or deferment many men obtained student deferments by attending college, though
they would have to remain in college until their 26th birthday to be certain of avoiding the draft. Some got married, which
remained an exemption throughout the war. Some men found sympathetic doctors who would claim a medical basis for applying
for a 4F (medically unfit) exemption, though Army doctors could and did make their own judgments. Still others joined the
National Guard or entered the Peace Corps as a way of avoiding Vietnam. All of these issues raised concerns about the fairness
of who got selected for involuntary service, since it was often the poor or those without connections who were drafted. Ironically,
in light of modern political issues, a certain exemption was a convincing claim of homosexuality, but very few men attempted
this because of the stigma involved.
The draft itself also initiated protests when on October 15, 1965 the student-run National Coordinating Committee
to End the War in Vietnam staged the first public burning of a draft card in the United States. The first draft lottery since
World War II in the United States was held on 1 December 1969 and was met with large protests and a great deal of controversy;
statistical analysis indicated that the methodology of the lotteries unintentionally disadvantaged men with late year birthdays.
Even many of those who never received a deferment or exemption never served, simply because the pool of eligible
men was so huge compared to the number required for service, that the draft boards never got around to drafting them when
a new crop of men became available (until 1969) or because they had high lottery numbers (1970 and later).