How to Compile a CO Claim
Below is basic information on how to compile a claim as
a conscientious objector. Remember, the United States
may be just one terrorist attack – or one small war – away
from reactivating the draft.
If you register with
Selective Service (SS), write that you are a conscientious objector (CO)
on the card before sending it in. Photocopy the card and send it to yourself
and leave it sealed.
Write a statement of beliefs
that explain why, how, when, where, etc. that you became a CO. List anything
that could have influenced your beliefs against war and killing, such as
religion, films, books, events you attended, etc.
Find 3 people who know you
very well who can write a letter on your behalf supporting your beliefs as a
Write a letter to the
Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors (CCCO) explaining that you
are a CO. Keep a copy for yourself, with the receipt of it being mailed. CCCO
doesn't archive these letters but they will send you a letter confirming they
have received your letter. Keep that letter from CCCO as part of your CO file.
You can send a copy of your CO file to the Center on Conscience & War (CCW)
to be archived.
Compile all of these documents
and get them notarized.
Put them in a safe place and
if you get drafted you can present this claim to your local draft board and
your chances of getting a CO exemption will be much stronger.
If you go to any anti-war
events, document them somehow as proof that you went, keep the flyers, have
your photo taken at the event, etc.
Remember, you need to build a
paper trail and document everything possible that could help define you as a
person who could not go to war. Your local draft board will want to see that
you are genuinely opposed to war, and not just somebody who doesn't want to
Also remember that your local draft board will want to be
persuaded that the beliefs prompting you to seek CO status have affected the
way you've been living.
Go to the Center on Conscience & War website for more tips and information.