ANNUAL UNIT ELECTION INFORMATION for the UNIT LEADER Year 2017
Deadline for requesting an election 1/31/2017
All elections must be completed by 3/31/2017
Important Update – Adult Nominations to the OA
The process for nominating unit adults to the OA is still new to some Unit Leaders. The current-serving Scoutmaster or Varsity Coach may be nominated after the election of any one Youth. There is a 12 months service time requirement (the SM/VC serving the unit 12 months prior to the nomination date.) For the Assistant Scoutmasters and Assistant Coaches, they are nominated based on the number of youths elected. When 1-3 youths are elected, one ASM/AC may be nominated. When 4-6 youths are elected, two ASM/AC may be nominated (and so forth). Suggestion: You should review the Adult Candidate Nomination Form to become familiar with the required information for submittal to the OA. The adult nomination form is a writable PDF. Thank you.
The Order of the Arrow is Scouting’s National Honor Society. It recognizes those who best exemplify the Scout Oath and Law in their daily lives and, through that recognition, cause others to conduct themselves in such a way that warrants similar recognition, to promote camping, to develop leaders, and to crystallize the Scout habit of helpfulness into a life purpose of leadership in cheerful service to others.
Each Boy Scout troop or Varsity Scout team with qualified Scouts is urged to hold an election not later than March 31st to select their candidates for the current year. The date and place of the election is selected by the unit leader.
Youth Membership Qualifications
- With the approval of his unit leader, a Boy Scout or Varsity Scout who holds the First Class rank, is under the age of 21, and is registered as an active member of the troop or team may be nominated for election. Prior to the annual election, the unit leader must certify the nominee’s Scout spirit and youth membership qualifications.
- Have experienced 15 nights of Boy Scout camping while registered with a troop of team within the two years immediately prior to the election. The 15 nights must include one, but no more than one long-term camp consisting of at least five consecutive nights of overnight camping, approved and under the auspices and standards of the Boy Scouts of America. Only five nights of long-term camp may be credited toward the 15-night camping requirement. The balance of the camping nights (10 nights) must be overnight, weekend, or other short-term camps, at most, three nights.
Adult Membership Qualifications
Each year, upon holding a troop or team election for youth candidates that results in at least one youth candidate being elected, the unit committee may nominate registered unit adults, 21 years of age or older, to the lodge adult selection committee. The number of adults nominated can be no more than one-third of the number of youth candidates elected, rounded up where the number of youth candidates is not a multiple of three. In addition to the one-third limit, the unit committee may nominate the currently-serving unit leader (but not assistant leaders), as long as he or she has served as unit leader for at least the previous 12 months. Recommendations of the adult selection committee, with the approval of the scout executive, will be candidates for induction, provided the following conditions are fulfilled:
1. Selection of the adult is based on the ability to perform the necessary functions to help the Order fulfill its purpose and is not for recognition of service, including current and prior achievements and positions.
2. The individual will be an asset to the Order because of demonstrated abilities that fulfill the purpose of the Order.
3. The camping requirements set forth for youth members are fulfilled.
4. The adult leader’s membership will provide a positive example for the growth and development of the youth members of the lodge.
The election should be held at a regularly scheduled unit meeting. Every effort should be made to have100 percent attendance of both youths and adults at this meeting. An election team from the Order of the Arrow will be on hand to conduct the election.
UNIT ELECTIONS RULES AND PROCEDURES
Q: What is the deadline for requesting an election?
A: Election requests must be received by the 15th of January.
Q: When must the election be completed?
A: Election should be completed by March 31st.
Q: Which units can hold elections?
A: Elections are only to be held in troops and teams; elections are not to be held in Venturing crews or Cub Scout packs.
Q: Can your unit conduct its own election?
A: No! The election team must be a trained two- or three-member election team from another unit within your council. Your unit’s troop/team representative may assist with the election, but cannot take the lead in conducting the election.
Q: How does a unit request an election?
A: Complete 1) the Unit Election Request Form, and 2) the two-page Nominees for OA Election Form, and submit the properly completed forms to your chapter adviser who will schedule your election.
Q. A Scout who recently joined my troop camped a lot in his previous troop. Should that camping be counted when deciding if he can be listed on the election ballot for my troop’s unit election?
A. Yes. All camping done by a Scout while registered with a troop or team will count toward the camping portion of the membership qualifications, as long as the camping was within the last two years.
Q. A Scout in my troop is also registered in a Venturing crew. Can camping trips with the crew count towards the camping requirement?
A. Since the Scout is registered with the troop, and the camping with the crew is “under the auspices of the BSA,” these camping trips while the youth member is also a Boy Scout can count towards the camping requirement.
Q. If a Scout goes to summer camp and a jamboree in the same summer, how do these count towards the camping requirement?
A: Only one long term camp can be used towards the camping requirement. For a Scout who attends summer camp and a jamboree in the same year, five nights of the time at summer camp or at the jamboree (but not both) can be used towards the camping requirement. Ten more nights of short-term camp would also be required to meet the camping requirement.
Q. What does “… under the auspices of the Boy Scouts of America” mean in the camping requirement?
A. It means: Camping conducted within the guidelines of the Boy Scouts of America, amongst other things, to conduct the program in accordance with the Guide to Safe Scouting and all youth protection guidelines, and if water sports are conducted, using Safe Swim Defense and the buddy system, using a Tour Plan, and all other policies in force not specifically listed here. Ultimately, the local council is the final arbiter of whether an encampment is in compliance and therefore under the auspices of the BSA.
Q: Who can vote?
A: In Boy Scout troops and Varsity Scout teams, every registered active member of the unit under age 21 at the time of election is eligible to vote in an Order of the Arrow unit election.
Q: What is the definition of an active member?
A: A Boy Scout or Varsity Scout who is a current registered member of the Mt. Diablo Silverado Council and participates in at least some unit activities during the year is considered to be a registered active member of the unit. For example, a youth away at college who participates in some unit activities when home, such as campouts, camporees, or occasional unit meetings, should be considered a registered active member. A youth who moves away or drops out of the unit because of other interests would not be counted in the registered active membership figure.
Q: What percentage of the unit’s youth membership must to present before an election can be conducted?
A: 50% of the unit’s membership must be present.
Q: How many votes must a Scout have to be elected?
A: All nominees who receive votes from at least 50% of those who turned in ballots are elected.
Q: What happens if no one is elected?
A: If no one is elected, the OA team announces this fact and states that the unit will now be given the opportunity to vote again. Time is allowed for further explanation of the purpose of the Order and the election procedures, and for any questions. No information about the votes received by candidates is to be revealed at any time. The second ballot is then held immediately, and if the unit still elects no one, this is the final result for this year’s election.
Q. Do youths have to be present for an election, or can they participate by phone or Skype or vote through an absentee ballot?
A. All youths must be physically present to vote in a unit election. Voting by phone, Skype, absentee ballot, etc. is not permitted in unit elections.
Q. Do youths have to be present to be placed on the election ballot and be elected?
A. No. All Scouts who meet the eligibility requirements should be included on the election ballot, even if some of these Scouts are not present when the election is being held.
Q. What’s the status in the OA of assistant Scoutmasters and assistant Varsity Scout Coaches who are under age 21?
A. Young adults, ages 18 through 20, are considered youth members of the Order of the Arrow. Because of this, assistant Scoutmasters and assistant Varsity Scout Coaches who are 18, 19 or 20 years old and who meet the youth eligibility requirements should be included on election ballots whenever an election is held in a troop or team, and these young adults should be allowed to participate in the election.
Q. What if a Scoutmaster or Varsity Scout Coach mistakenly certifies a Scout as eligible for election when he is not eligible and that Scout is subsequently called out?
A. If a Scout was incorrectly elected, but not called out, the Scoutmaster or Varsity Scout Coach needs counsel the Scout and explain to him that a mistake was made. Encourage the Scout to remain involved and committed so that he may appear on next year’s ballot. If a Scout was incorrectly called out but not inducted, he will not be inducted. Again, the Scoutmaster or Varsity Scout Coach needs to conference with the Scout. If a Scout was incorrectly inducted, the Scout will be allowed to retain membership in the Order of the Arrow. The Scout will be counseled about the circumstances with guidance from his Scoutmaster or Varsity Scout Coach and the chapter or lodge adviser so that they can help the Scout mature, participate, and be successful in the Order.
Q. What if the Scoutmaster discovers the he accidentally left some Scouts off the list of those eligible for election? Can the unit have another election?
A. Election policy is set by the National OA Committee to ensure uniformity across the nation. One longstanding policy is that a unit may have only one election per year. While it’s regrettable that the Scoutmaster did not provide a complete list of eligible Scouts for the election that was held, national policy does not permit an additional election to be held to address the issue.
Q: When can election results be announced?
A: As soon as the election is completed, the unit leader may or may not choose to announce to the entire unit the names of members who have been elected. Candidates will be called out at the earliest possible time, usually at a district camporee, or a special ceremony.
Q: Can a candidate complete his Induction with a lodge not chartered by the council that the unit is chartered with?
A: NO!!! Newly elected candidates for membership in the Order must complete the Induction and be inducted into the Order by the lodge that serves the council in which the unit is chartered. Out of council Inductions are not permitted.
THE ELECTION TEAM MUST LEAVE WITH THE NOMINEE FOR ELECTION INFORMATION FORM AND THE UNIT ELECTION REPORT AT THE END OF THE ELECTION.