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SM Preventing 1st-Years From Being On Ballot

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32 minutes ago, DuctTape said:

I think the OA bears the brunt of the responsibility on this front. It is up to them to explain the program, the process, etc... not just show up and expect an election to be conducted for them. The arrowmen in the troop should be the point people for this. 

The OA has explained the process. There is an entire guide for elections. 

The Unit request an election from Lodge or Chapter (the election team doesn’t just show up). 

The OA election team runs the election. (It is highly discouraged for Unit Scouts/Scouters to be part of that team.

The Unit leader determines who is on the ballot (as long as they meet camping and rank requirements).

There are a lot of details in the Guide but it’s pretty straight forward.

 

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On 3/7/2019 at 9:55 PM, HashTagScouts said:

I'm still not clear, having watched this thread grow over the past several days, that the scout referenced in the OP actually has asked the SM why he wasn't eligible to be on the ballot.  I'm more focused on that part than trying to tell that SM, or any SM, how to handle themselves- if the scout has questions, it's their job to ask the SM, not the parent or us in the peanut gallery. 

I understand the point. I'm inferring that the Scout was blindsided during the voting or just before.  If the Scout did know and didn't ask - then yes, the scout really should have asked.

If the Scout didn't know, then I think it's a different case.  Is it really fair to a Scout to be blindsided by a general decision like this?  Doesn't that simply demoralize the scout?

I ask the question not to criticize the Scoutmaster here.  Instead, I'm much more interested in what coaching we provide to Scoutmasters who may find themselves with a similar decision.  Wouldn't it generally be best to tell this kind of thing to Scouts well ahead of time?

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Yes, but he knew enough to think he was on the ballot, so somebody was coaching or something.

As far as we know, the SM might be considering some changes, but does he even know the family is upset. 

Barry

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As Chapter Advisor and having just finished our chapter elections last month and having had a few exciting conversations with unit CC's and SM's over election outcomes, I'd like to put a few points out there.

Are there mature 11 year olds, experienced in outdoor activities and capable of induction weekend? Undoubtedly. But if your child isn't SurvivorMan at 11 he probably isn't going to enjoy induction weekend anyway or participate later on. Just another Sash-N-Dash. So why press it?

While the SM may not have had first year Scouts names on the ballot, the election team should have made the rules of the voting clear. Including Scouts being able to vote for themselves, AND to write in someone they feel should be on the ballot. Even if the election team or SM had to nullify it later. If parents didn't know of the SM's decision before hand then it's highly unlikely that any of the Scouts knew either and as such were free to write in worthy candidates. Either individuals didn't feel they were ready or their peers didn't.

The Order of the Arrow is not a popularity contest it is an Honor Society, not everyone gets in...period. Scouts need to have invested time and energy in camping to have earned that respect among their peers. It is not the same thing as advancement and it surely isn't about just fulfilling requirements. Unless it's a small Lodge the election team should have been Youth lead. The Scouts voted not the parents or leadership. The OA has many adult Advisors who get to talk all they want but the Youth make the decisions. Sounds like your Unit made theirs.

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14 hours ago, Longhaired_Mac said:

As Chapter Advisor and having just finished our chapter elections last month and having had a few exciting conversations with unit CC's and SM's over election outcomes, I'd like to put a few points out there...

...While the SM may not have had first year Scouts names on the ballot, the election team should have made the rules of the voting clear. Including Scouts being able to vote for themselves, AND to write in someone they feel should be on the ballot. Even if the election team or SM had to nullify it later.

Can you show me where the Scouts can write in candidates as I cannot find it in the Guide to Inductions?

Also can you show me where the election team or SM can nullify a vote as I cannot find that either?

This is a sore point with me. I had a SM provide me with a list of eligible Scouts, including "attitude and participation." He signed off on everyone. Once the election was completed, he was told the results. He was surprised one Scout got in, a Scout he approved,  and wanted to remove the Scout. Election team refused and when he was berating them I intervened. Then he started cursing me out and following me into the parking lot. I was always taught once approved, there was no way to rescind approval. SM had his chance. And nowhere in teh Guide to Inductions can I find that a SM can rescind approval after the fact.

 

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Posted (edited)
16 hours ago, Longhaired_Mac said:

As Chapter Advisor ................................

...................the election team should have made the rules of the voting clear. Including Scouts being able to vote for themselves, AND to write in someone they feel should be on the ballot. Even if the election team or SM had to nullify it later.

 

1 hour ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

Can you show me where the Scouts can write in candidates as I cannot find it in the Guide to Inductions?

Also can you show me where the election team or SM can nullify a vote as I cannot find that either?

 

Scouts CANNOT write in candidates. Per the Guide to Unit Elections and the Guide for Officers and Advisers

"Membership Requirements

Unit leader approval.

To become eligible for election, a Scout must be registered with the Boy Scouts of America and have the approval of their unit leader prior to the election"

AND

"Prior to the annual election, the unit leader must certify the nominee’s Scout spirit and youth membership qualifications."

 

 

A unit leader CANNOT change the results of an election

"The election team and the unit leader count the votes in private. All votes count equally. If at least one has been elected, the election result is final."

And

"Q: Can a unit leader adjust the results of the youth election results before the results are announced?

A. After the youths have voted, the unit leader cannot adjust the results of the election.

The Guide for Officers and Advisers says that lodge rules must include this standard rule: Rule III.A. The requirements for membership in this lodge are as stated in the current printing of the Order of the Arrow Handbook and the Order of the Arrow Guide for Officers and Advisers. Starting on page 22 of the Guide for Officers and Advisers, the “Induction: Election to Ordeal” section details the procedure to be used for elections. Voting by Scoutmasters or adjusting the results of the youth votes is not part of the procedure and therefore is not allowed.

 

@Longhaired_Mac as you are a Chapter Adviser I would urge you to brush up on the G2E and GOA. It is very important that the rules are applied evenly. 

Edited by HelpfulTracks
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5 hours ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

Can you show me where the Scouts can write in candidates as I cannot find it in the Guide to Inductions?

Also can you show me where the election team or SM can nullify a vote as I cannot find that either?

This is a sore point with me. I had a SM provide me with a list of eligible Scouts, including "attitude and participation." He signed off on everyone. Once the election was completed, he was told the results. He was surprised one Scout got in, a Scout he approved,  and wanted to remove the Scout. Election team refused and when he was berating them I intervened. Then he started cursing me out and following me into the parking lot. I was always taught once approved, there was no way to rescind approval. SM had his chance. And nowhere in teh Guide to Inductions can I find that a SM can rescind approval after the fact.

I don't have the years of experience or training others may have so may lack the finer points on elections and my Guide to Unit Election's was handed down to me so it may be out of date. And I'm not trying to antagonize anyone.

That said, the first part of point 6 in the Unit election rules, ( 6. A voter may list on his ballot any combination of names, including all eligible candidates he believes are worthy to become members of the Order of the Arrow.) allows for possibility of write-ins without stating it outright. I understand it may not be the intent but a perturbed Scout or parent will shade-tree-lawyer the words "may list," to mean write-in in a heart beat. I do not have a copy of the Guide for Officers and Advisers but have been told the same point is in it.

As to nullification of candidates, Voiding may be a better word. The SM cannot adjust the results but can let the Election team know of circumstances that may require the vote to be void. In the case of first-years not being allowed by the SM, if they were added to the ballot, such as a write-in, the SM's "ok" was not given so the candidates election would not have been valid. Other voiding of elections or candidates where they might not have been valid can look like... the SM confuses the boys names and the wrong person was voted in, or they expected requirements to be met and so the SM provides a Scouts name for a ballot but that Scout doesn't meet requirements by election time. It shouldn't happen but it does, and voiding the vote can occur.

In your case it sounds like the SM's "ok" was given in good faith to the election team previous to the vote so their results should stand. But I don't know that it's mentioned in the guide specifically either.

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The names for the ballot are given to the election team by the SM, so there should be no one on there that he/she did not approve. The team must take his/her word the scouts meet the requirements to be eligible (minimum camping nights, etc.).  There are NO WRITE INS allowed. If someone told our team they were going to lawyer up, I would laugh in their face.

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6 hours ago, Longhaired_Mac said:

That said, the first part of point 6 in the Unit election rules, ( 6. A voter may list on his ballot any combination of names, including all eligible candidates he believes are worthy to become members of the Order of the Arrow.) allows for possibility of write-ins without stating it outright. I understand it may not be the intent but a perturbed Scout or parent will shade-tree-lawyer the words "may list," to mean write-in in a heart beat.

 

Point 6 refers to Point 4 of the G2I,

4. The unit leader provides a list of registered active members of the unit who meet all eligibility requirements, including attitude and participation.(emphasis added) The names of these members are entered on the report form and the unit leader signs the certification. It is important that the list be complete, as only one election can be held in a unit each year.

So if the name is not on the ballot, the Scout not listed is not considered eligible, and thus cannot be a "write in candidate."

 

I can understand your position. being a CA is tough. Been there, done that multiple times. And cleaning up messes previous CA's have done can be interesting. My favorite is the troop that was use to doing their own  unit elections. Thankfully the SM was a former CA back in the day, and was polite and respectful when I showed him the rules. He thought it was odd that the troop could do elections without the chapter being there.

And i told you my worse election story.

 

6 hours ago, Longhaired_Mac said:

 

As to nullification of candidates, Voiding may be a better word. The SM cannot adjust the results but can let the Election team know of circumstances that may require the vote to be void. In the case of first-years not being allowed by the SM, if they were added to the ballot, such as a write-in, the SM's "ok" was not given so the candidates election would not have been valid. Other voiding of elections or candidates where they might not have been valid can look like... the SM confuses the boys names and the wrong person was voted in, or they expected requirements to be met and so the SM provides a Scouts name for a ballot but that Scout doesn't meet requirements by election time. It shouldn't happen but it does, and voiding the vote can occur.

 

 

I would not call the removal of an ineligible Scout voiding. But understand. As for mispellings,  ditto. HOWEVER a SM cannot  do the "expected requirements."  The requirements must be met AT THE TIME OF ELECTION. (emphais)

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7 hours ago, Longhaired_Mac said:

 And I'm not trying to antagonize anyone.

No one is antagonized, I am certainly not. Answering questions and helping others is a large part of why many of us are here. 

7 hours ago, Longhaired_Mac said:

That said, the first part of point 6 in the Unit election rules, ( 6. A voter may list on his ballot any combination of names, including all eligible candidates he believes are worthy to become members of the Order of the Arrow.) allows for possibility of write-ins without stating it outright. I understand it may not be the intent but a perturbed Scout or parent will shade-tree-lawyer the words "may list," to mean write-in in a heart beat. I do not have a copy of the Guide for Officers and Advisers but have been told the same point is in it.

You are correct that it could be worded better. But the key element of this sentence in this instance is "eligible candidates." A scout must meet the requirements in order to be eligible. 

The guide specifically forbids write-in, Elections teams are forbidden from counting in-eligible Scouts, the SM must approve Scouts for them to be eligible. 

If a parent/adult or even a scout wants to point to that phrase, and refuses to take your explanation, then pull out the Guide and walk them through it. There are numerous instances where eligible scout is referenced in terms of being on the ballot, in voting and counting the vote. And eligible is clearly defined multiple times. 

7 hours ago, Longhaired_Mac said:

As to nullification of candidates, Voiding may be a better word. The SM cannot adjust the results but can let the Election team know of circumstances that may require the vote to be void. In the case of first-years not being allowed by the SM, if they were added to the ballot, such as a write-in, the SM's "ok" was not given so the candidates election would not have been valid. Other voiding of elections or candidates where they might not have been valid can look like... the SM confuses the boys names and the wrong person was voted in, or they expected requirements to be met and so the SM provides a Scouts name for a ballot but that Scout doesn't meet requirements by election time. It shouldn't happen but it does, and voiding the vote can occur.

In your case it sounds like the SM's "ok" was given in good faith to the election team previous to the vote so their results should stand. But I don't know that it's mentioned in the guide specifically either.

Actually, this situation is covered. If such a situation occurs, the SM should call it to the attention of the CA or LA. Here is how the guide addresses this situation:

25. What should our lodge do 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, do not add him to the list of those to be called out. Have the Scoutmaster or Varsity Scout Coach 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, do not induct him, and, again, have that Scoutmaster or Varsity Scout Coach conference.

If a Scout was incorrectly inducted, the Scout should be allowed to retain membership in the Order of the Arrow. The Scout should 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.

26. I’m a chapter adviser. A chapter election team recently conducted an election for a troop in my chapter and three Scouts were elected. The day after the election, the Scoutmaster contacted me to ask for a supplemental election because he accidentally left some Scouts off the list of those eligible for election. Can the chapter arrange for 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.

 

Could a Scoutmaster change his mind and use the guidance above to remove an eligible and elected Scout? Yes. However, we frequently use the term "a Scout is trustworthy," in these situations. SO we trust that the SM in question, truly made a mistake and did not just change their mind. 

With over 100 years of experience and thousands of elections under its belt, the OA has seen just about every situation that you are likely to run into, and addressed them in various guides. TO be sure they are not perfect and can always be improved, but they are your best guide. If you still have questions after using these references, the escalate the issue to your LA or regional or national advisers. 

You mentioned your guide may be out of date. It more than likely is if it has been handed down. The OA provides only PDF versions that are kept currrent.

Here are some links that will help you.

Guide to Unit Elections - https://oa-bsa.org/uploads/publications/GuideToUnitElections2017.pdf

Guide for Officers and Advisers - https://oa-bsa.org/uploads/publications/GOA-201901.pdf

Many more guides and publications can be found here - https://oa-bsa.org/resources/publications

I hope that helps.

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