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Unit Elections


What are unit elections?

Each year the Order of the Arrow seeks out candidates to become new members of our organization. Unlike most groups, candidates for membership are determined primarily by those who are NOT members of the OA. They are selected by the people who know them best: the other scouts in their troop. The unit election is the first step in becoming a member of the Order of the Arrow. After being elected, each candidate will need to attend an Ordeal weekend in order to become a member.

When are unit elections?

Unit elections will be held from December through February. We would like to have the chance to come to each troop during that time in order to offer an election. Starting in early December, our election coordinators will be contacting each Scoutmaster to set up a date and time. Please understand that we put in many hours trying repeatedly to contact some people, so your assistance in working with these young men is greatly appreciated. The elections are held during one of your regular troop meetings, and usually require 20-25 minutes of meeting time to complete.

What happens on the night of the election?

One or more current members of the Order of the Arrow will come to your meeting on the date and time that you choose. They will introduce the OA to the members of your troop and briefly talk about its purpose and mission. They will describe the requirements for being elected and for becoming a member after election. They will then conduct the election itself, described more fully below. After the election, they will fill out the necessary form with your assistance and present you with a copy of the election results.

What are the requirements for a scout to be elected?

In order for a scout to be considered for election into the Order of the Arrow, he must meet the following requirements:

  1. Be a registered member of the Boy Scouts of America.
  2. Have experienced 15 days and nights of camping under the auspices of the Boy Scouts of America in the last two years, including one and only one lnog term camp (such as a summer camp or high adventure trek) consisting of 5 consecutive nights. The remaining 10 nights must be from short term (weekend) camping. Camping other than that with the Boy Scouts may not be included in this total.
  3. Must hold the rank of First Class or higher.
  4. Must be approved in advance by the Scoutmaster prior to being placed on the ballot for election. Once the election has been held, the Scoutmaster CANNOT decide not to approve a scout - this must be done in advance!

Any troop member under the age of 21 is considered to be a Youth in the election. A troop should consider anyone under the age of 21 as a Youth for the purposes of the election, meaning that he can be a candidate if he meets the above requirements, and he may cast a vote.

NOTE: these requirements and the steps of the election can be downloaded in a printer-friendly format using the links at the bottom of this page.

How does the election work?

There are several steps to the election itself:

  1. 50% of the ACTIVE youth troop members MUST be present at the election. An active member is to be determined by the Scoutmaster. He must be at least a currently registered member of the Boy Scouts of America.
  2. All youth troop members have a vote, including current Order of the Arrow members.
  3. All eligible youth who receive votes from at least 50% of those who turned in ballots are elected.
  4. Each youth is allowed to vote for all, some, or none of the names on the ballot. He may not vote for a given scout more than once.
  5. Yes, an eligible youth may vote for himself.
  6. Guidelines should be given to the troop by the election team considering how the Scouts can use their vote. The team is there to answer any questions.
  7. After the ballots have been collected, the election team will check to make sure they have the correct number. They will then determine how many votes were needed for election. If 10 ballots were returned, then five votes are needed to be elected. If 11 ballots are returned, six votes are needed. Always round up. Blank ballots must also be returned.
  8. The election team will count the votes in private and determine the Scouts elected. They will fill out the unit election form and it must be signed by them and the Scoutmaster. If no one was elected, the Troop is given the option to have another election. If, on the second election, no one is elected, a form must be returned indicating that no one was elected.
  9. Whether or not youth were elected, the Scoutmaster should sign the election form, indicating that an election was held or at least offered. If no election was held, write 'No Election' across the form, and sign it. If no one was elected, write 'No Scouts Elected' across the form and sign it. We need one form per troop in the Council to account for Unit Election Team results.
  10. The Scoutmaster will receive a pink carbon copy of the election form and has the right to announce the results of the election. If he chooses to wait, then the youth will discover the results at their Chapter Tap-outs, usually held at that district's Spring Camporee.

What should I do to prepare for our unit election?

There are a few things that will help the election team out considerably if you are able to do them ahead of time. First, please be responsive when you are contacted to schedule an election. If you cannot give an immediate date and time, please call back with that information as soon as possible.

By the night of the election, determine which scouts in your troop meet the eligibility requirements and decide if they all have your approval to be considered for election. If you are able to provide pre-printed ballots on the night of the election with the names of those eligible, this is extremely helpful. Not only does it help the scouts running the election, but it also increases the chances that each eligible scout will be elected - fewer scouts tend to be elected if those voting have to write the names themselves, so it is possible for worthy scouts to not receive enough votes.

The election team will also need the following information for all those scouts eligible for election: Name as it appears on your charter (no nicknames or initials, please); mailing address including ZIP code; phone number including area code; and current rank.

How does an adult become a member of the OA?

Please see the separate page on Recommending Adults.

What if I still have questions?

Please feel free to contact the Tendeuchen Chapter Advisor, Paul Post, at (614) 799-0086 or by e-mail at post.1@osu.edu, or speak to him at Roundtable.

Links to Documents and Forms

The following files may be useful:

Information and Requirements   Acrobat (.pdf) format
Troop Visit Call Script Word (.doc) format  
Election Script Word (.doc) format Acrobat (.pdf) format
Election Checklist Word (.doc) format Acrobat (.pdf) format
Simon Kenton Council Camps Video On YouTube  


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This page is maintained by Paul Post. Last updated December 16, 2012.

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