UPDATE 1:36 p.m.: After publication of this article, the Washington Free Beacon obtained a copy of Rob Quist's Selective Service System registration card, which was filed on January 10, 1966, five days after Quist's 18th birthday.
The registration card was indeed held at the National Archives in St. Louis, Missouri, but could not be located for the below referenced records request because not enough information was initially supplied to locate a record from Montana, where the registrations are organized by local board, according to an archive supervisor.
The National Archives "conducted an extensive search" and was unable to locate any record of Montana Democrat Rob Quist registering with the Selective Service System, the United States government's list of individuals eligible for conscription to the military.
Quist, born on January 5, 1948, would have been required by law to register with the Selective Service System after his 18th birthday in 1966. The National Archives and Records Administration, which has the sole responsibility for maintaining records for men born before 1960, has no record that Quist ever registered.
"We have conducted an extensive search, and based on the information you have provided, we have been unable to locate the Selective Service System record you requested," wrote an archivist for the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, Missouri, in a letter. All of the required information for the records request was supplied.
Quist's campaign did not respond to inquiries into whether he ever registered for the Selective Service.
Failing to register for the Selective Service was one way that anti-Vietnam War activists recommended that people oppose the war effort.
Quist told The Nation last month that it was during the Vietnam War that he first got involved in politics.
"[Quist] told me he’s been political 'since the Vietnam War,'" wrote D.D. Guttenplan last month.
"I took part in the student strikes going on here," Quist was quoted as saying. "We were losing—some of our best buddies were over there."
In 1966, 382,010 men entered military service through the Selective Service System—the first year Quist would have been eligible. An additional 1.1 million were inducted before the end of the draft in 1973.
There were various types of deferments individuals could have received that made them ineligible for the draft. All of them, however, would have been submitted to the Selective Service System and recorded by the National Archives.
Records of President Donald Trump's four deferments, for example, all are maintained by and made publicly available by the agency.
It is unlikely that Quist would have been able to acquire a medical deferment as he played basketball at the University of Montana. He would have been eligible for a student deferment as a college student, though he dropped out after starting a band.
Quist's Republican opponent Greg Gianforte registered with the Selective Service System in 1980, according to records viewed by the Washington Free Beacon.
Failure to register is currently a felony punishable by a fine of up to $250,000 and up to five years in prison, though nobody has been prosecuted for the crime in three decades.
Published under: House Democrats , House of Representatives , Montana , Rob Quist