Top ten tips for unit elections season

By Brandon Stahl

The Order of the Arrow has a registered membership of over 170,000 Arrowmen operating from over 270 different councils nationwide. How exactly did these Scouts and Scouters become Arrowmen, though? Each year, lodges visit individual troops and hold unit elections, the process through which Scouts elect their peers to membership in the Order of the Arrow. Here’s everything you need to know about the unit election process:

  1. Youth eligibility requirements: Be a registered member of the Boy Scouts of America, have attained at least the rank of First Class, have the approval of his Scoutmaster and have spent fifteen days and nights camping in the two years prior to the election. Only one long-term camping trip of six days and five nights may be included in this total. More information on these requirements can be found here.
  2. Adults must follow most of the same requirements for eligibility as the youth. However, they must be at least twenty one, are exempt from the First Class requirement, and must be approved by an adult selection committee after an eligibility form has been turned in by the troop committee chairman.
  3. It is required that at least 50% of the registered active unit membership is present at the unit election. A registered active member is a Boy Scout who carries a current national membership card and participates in unit activities. A youth who moves away or drops out of the unit is not an active member, and would not be counted in the registered active membership figure.
  4. Voting is anonymous. Open voting or campaigning of any kind is not permitted.
  5. A Scout may put as many or as few names as he wishes on his ballot. If he feels nobody is ready, he is free to turn in a blank ballot.
  6. Abstaining from voting is allowed for any new members of the troop who feel they don’t know the candidates well enough. For a Scout to abstain, they should not turn in a ballot at all, which will not affect the final result of the election. However, don’t confuse an abstention with a no-vote! A blank ballot turned in counts against those eligible.
  7. Eligible Scouts must receive at least half of the votes cast to be elected. If there is an odd number of ballots cast, round up.
  8. If none of those eligible are elected, the unit election team will give the unit another chance to vote. This second vote will be final even if nobody is elected again.
  9. Being elected is only the first step in becoming an Arrowman. Those elected have to first go through their Ordeal induction to join the Order of the Arrow.
  10. After being inducted into the Order of the Arrow, there are a host of opportunities available for new members. To keep members active, be sure to host a new member's orientation and provide them with the resources available to learn about the OA's unique programmatic offerings.

For more information on the Ordeal process, follow this link.

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