The board of registrars shall have power to examine, under oath or affirmation, all applicants for registration, and to take testimony touching the qualifications of such applicants, but no applicant shall be required to answer any question, written or oral, not related to his or her qualifications to register. In order to aid the registrars to judicially determine if applicants to register have the qualifications to register to vote, each applicant shall be furnished by the board a written application, which shall be uniform in all cases with no discrimination as between applicants, the form and contents of which application shall be promulgated by rule by the Secretary of State of the State of Alabama. The application shall be so worded that there will be placed before the registrars information necessary or proper to aid them to pass upon the qualifications of each applicant. The application shall be completed in writing. There shall be incorporated in such application an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Alabama of 1901 and a statement in such oath by the applicant disavowing belief in or affiliation with any group or party which advocates the overthrow of the government of the United States or the State of Alabama by unlawful means. The application and oath shall be duly signed by the applicant. If the applicant is unable to read or write, then the applicant shall be exempt from the above stated requirements which the applicant is unable to meet and in such cases a witness shall read to the applicant the application and oath herein provided for and the applicant's answers thereto shall be written down by the witness, and the applicant shall be registered as a voter if he or she meets all other requirements herein set out. Each member of the board is authorized to administer the oaths to be taken by applicants and witnesses. Except as provided in Section 17-3-53, the applications of persons applying for registration shall not become public records as public records are defined under the laws of the State of Alabama, nor shall the board disclose the information contained in such applications and written answers, except with the written consent of the person who filed the answer or pursuant to the order of a court of competent jurisdiction in a proper proceeding.