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kahits

when elections fall short

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I just spoke with one of our election teams, who performed an election for a troop in our district. There was a total of 9 boys put up for election, who met the qualifications. Of the 9, 3 were elected with at least half of the votes of the boys, present. Of those 3, the SM disqualified 2 as being not acceptable, even though he put them up for election. There were 3 other boys who fell short of the 50% number of votes (they needed 10 and only got 9). These boys are older, two of which are Star rank and age 16, and one is First class. We are attempting to rebuild a chapter that has had it's membership plummet for a variety of reasons, that I hope to correct. Since the vote is only known by the SM, and probably the CC, I am wanting to call him to discuss this outcome of only one boy being elected out of 9, eligible. This troop has been very supportive in sending boys into the chapter, but in the past few years, very few boys (just one, last year, who completed his ordeal, but was 16 years old.) have come into the chapter from this, the largest, troop in our district. The fact that 2 of the 3 boys elected, were invalidated, after he put them up for election, certainly had an effect on the other 3, who fell short by a single vote. I think this is probably not the place to ask about bending the rules, but these boys are not getting any younger, and they want to continue the tradition of sending scouts from their troop into our chapter, and this particular election is a bit difficult to understand, given the outcome.

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kahits,

I'm there with you. I'm our CA, and trying to rebuild the Chapter also.

 

As to your situation, did the team have another adult in attendence since you were not there? Or was it just a group of older youth members conducting the election?

 

I've been fortunate to have three other adults willing to split up the election team duties with me, so one person isn't going crazy trying to get the election teams to all the elections. That was one thing that the previous two CA's and I agreed upon. This way the scouts aren't there by themselves, in case we have a SM try to blindside them with some BS.

 

Does your team still have the names of the two that the SM supposedly disqualified? If not, can they get the names? If they do, I would be calling the SM informing him that since he neglected to keep these two off the ballot, and they were elcted, that they will be tapped out with the one he let go through. Just tell him that he had the option to keep these two off the ballot, and didn't. Now it is to late. What is done, is done.

 

All four of us leaders put a stop to it at the election if we have a SM try to pull this on the team. The only time the leaders may let something slip, is if the SM asks if he can have the newly crossed over scouts busy doing something else after they see the video, at the time of the actual election, especially if the newbies are less then 2 months in the troop. It would be nice if National would put a stipulation that a voting scout needed to be in Boy Scouts 6 months to vote on OA candidates. This way they would be in long enough to be a little familiar with the scouts on the ballot. This would also solve the issue of brand new scouts voting on something that they no nothing about until the following years elections.

 

As for fudging the numbers by one vote, wouldn't go there. Forget the three that missed by one vote, and stick to your guns on the two that the SM is trying to shaft. These two are probably young, and will be around longer the then 3 16y/o's that would probably bail within a year.

 

I would prefer the older ones, but not by manipulating the results.

 

If you can build the Chapter up with younger ones that want to be involved, and make it fun for them while your at it, hopefully they will stay around and become good Chiefs and VCs as they age a little. Right now I'm working with a Chief and two VC's that are 14 and under, and one VC who is 18 and special needs. They do a great job considering. I've heard one of our Lodge VCs make the comment that "My Chapter Chief is only 13. How did that happen?" I can't say to much, he has helped out with the younger guys with some of the election. But I don't see him at anything but Lodge activities.

 

Don't give OA a bad name by playing Chicago politics. Good luck.

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The Scoutmaster's job is to approve the candidates before the election, not veto candidates who've been chosen by their fellow Scouts.

 

Those three Scouts were all duly elected, and should be put on the inductions path. No bending of the rules needed. What is needed is a firm phone call to the Scoutmaster from the lodge or chapter elections chairman, backed up by his adviser if necessary. The procedures are clear, and vetoes are not involved.

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Ditto to what shortridge said. The election team INFORMS the SM of the final results based on the ballot he APPROVED. These guys are elligble to be called out and go thru Ordeal. We've had more than one stinker in our troop that the SM had to hold his nose on when he put them on the ballot. The boys voting are not stupid. They typically follow the election teams instructions and vote accordingly. The process usually works except for where some one decides to manipulate the process.

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ABSOLUTELY agree with shortridge. SM opportunity to influence election ends when he delivers his list of qualified Scouts to the E-team. That said, when E-team asks if there is anyone who thinks they were omitted from the list, SM does have the right to take any Scout who raises his hand aside into a SM conference.

 

Now, THAT SAID, we're back to "No surprises." If a Scoutmaster deems a Scout ineligible to stand for OA election, he should have already had THAT SM conference with the young man.

 

May I recommend an Adviser Letter to every SM, and some training at RT between CA and SMs on election procedures?

 

Sigh.

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The situation you described is why I want an adult with the election team. Once the SM signs the form approving all eligible for election, he no longer has input, only the youth of the troop and those leaders 18-20.

 

that said the election teem needs to get the info for ALL those elected and submit them. Further a letter to the SM citing chapter and verse from either the Guide to Inductions or one of the other books that contain the election process. All are avilable vie the national OA website.

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I like John's ideas re: letters and training, but would suggest that both be done or overseen by the elections chairman, the youth officer actually running the show. They can be co-signed/co-presented by the adviser if necessary to reinforce the youth's authority, but the youth should be in the lead.

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These elections despite the instructions of the teams are nothing but popularity contests in the troop. I am an outsider neither my son nor I are involved in OA but if your organization is to continue you should set objective criteria for membership and give the elections the heave ho. The problem is the popular boys have lots of other activities they are involved in but the dedicated to scouting ones are usually not popular even within their own troops.

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Scottteng,

I've been involved with the OA for a little while, serving as a youth officer, two tours as a chapter adviser, and now on my third tour as a associate chapter adviser. I think I have seen it all: SMs trying to tell people who to vote for, SMs trying to do what was described above, popularity contests, (sarcasm on) my personal favorite having little brother influence the election by having his entire new scout patrol vote for you (sarcasm off), elections in which no one was elected (even after the second ballot), and folks stating they don't want to be inthe OA. yes those happen, but if you got a good, trained and motivated election team the bad stuff doesn't happen.

 

Again the key part is the training. Showing a video is ok, but you need to have passionate and trained youth conduct the election. And an adult to advise the team when needed, and protect the youth from the adults who want to interfere, like the SM above.

 

If your unit elections are popularity contests, I would have a chat with the CA and chapter chief and express yor concerns. The elections process is not the problem, the way it is conducted is.

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Part of training an elections team should involve concrete advice on how to stand up to an adult who's trying to corrupt the process, either intentionally or inadvertently. A good team shouldn't need an adviser present to back them up. But I understand in many cases they do.

 

The issue of whether OA elections are popularity contests is one for another thread, methinks. I would simply say that most of those who get elected because they're popular don't stick around for very long, and aren't representative of the Order as a whole. A lodge or chapter is only as good as the members, and the members are only as good as the Scouts from whom they were chosen.

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Shortridge,

 

The problem is our youth member brothers are being blown off by SMs in Troop Meetings when they come to run an election. What makes you think they'll be listened to by the same Scoutmasters at RT?

 

No, this is a time for the Chapter Adviser to step in and do his imitation of an authoritative adult laying down the law, imo.

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I think we're going to have to agree to disagree. It's not the time for the adviser to step in, but for the youth leaders to buck it up the chain of command. That's the way the lodge works.

 

A visit to Roundtable from the elections chairman, the vice-chief for inductions or the lodge chief himself just might do the trick for some recalcitrant leaders. The officer should speak sternly and firmly, but in a friendly manner, and make sure the leaders understand who is in charge.

 

The adviser stepping in might solve the immediate problem. But it also will reinforce the false perception that the youth don't really run the show. In the long run, that's more damaging to the program.

 

The trick, if there is any, is getting older, experienced, mature and well-spoken election team members who have plenty of self-confidence and are trained ... not in having an adult jump in and save the day.

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Sometimes the SMs try to blow off the CAs. First gig as a chapter adviser, I was 21 and I could of used the late Rodney Dangerfield's line "I get no respect" with some of the SMs. Try to tell me I don't know anything about the OA, I didn't have their years of expereince with the OA, yada yada yada. One time i got into a very heated discussion with a SM trying to intimidate my election team into changing results. Didn't happen.

 

That's why I like to have an adult present. You would think folks would not try to influence the youth, but they do.

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Short,

We posted at nearly the same time. I agree with you for the most part. When you have a SM, or any adult for that matter, starting to yell at the election team over the results, that's when the adult steps in. And yes that happened several times to me in the past. I had to step in when adults tried to tamper with the results.

 

maybe that explained why my first chapter had so many problems with membership.(This message has been edited by eagle92)

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Scott,

If the team is worth their weight in gold, most of the problems won't happen.

As for popularity contests, let the election team leader know before hand if this is a concern. We had this come up last year. I informed the ET leader before the election. He drilled it into the scouts heads that it wasn't a popularity contest, and that a scout, special need or otherwise, that met the qualifications and showed scout spirit should be elected. That speech managed to get the scout we wanted in OA elected, probably the only scout in our troop that is willing to not just wear the flap, but be involved in OA. No adult interference in the election.

 

An adult advisor shoiuld be present, if nothing more then for moral support for the ET leader who may have to put a SM in his place for trying to manipulate things.

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