Computer Glitch Sends Draft Notices To 14,215 Dead Men In Pennsylvania

We’ve heard of plenty of bad consumers who have failed to hold up their end of the law, but can you really be a draft dodger if you’re dead? Not really, which is why the U.S. Selective Service is saying the family members of about 14,215 long-deceased men in Pennsylvania should just ignore that notice they may’ve gotten.

In a notice posted on the Service’s page, the agency says it’s sorry for a June 30, 2014 mailing that reminded the men that they needed to register for the draft.

But those men were born between 1893-1897 — and not 1993-1997, silly Y2Kesque computer system! — so they’re pretty dead by now.

“Unfortunately, these letters were sent before a computer error was discovered,” the notice reads. “The mailing included erroneous names of men born during 1893-1897 from a routine automated data transfer between the State of Pennsylvania and Selective Service. Selective Service regrets any inconvenience caused the families of these men and assures them that the error has been corrected and no action is required on their part.”

Engadget reports that the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s cataloging software uses a two-digit birth-year field, which is apparently behind the snafu.

The error was only uncovered once confused people started calling to ask why the military would possibly be interested in signing up their long-dead predecessors for service. As everyone knows, Great Grandpa Theo

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