Troop OA Elections Print

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Who Is Eligible?


Scouts are elected to the Order by their fellow unit members, following approval by the Scoutmaster or Varsity team Coach. To become a member, a youth must:

  • be a registered member of a Boy Scout troop or Varsity Scout team
  • hold First Class rank
  • have experienced fifteen days and nights of Boy Scout camping during the two-year period prior to the election, including one, but no more than one, long-term camp consisting of six consecutive days and five nights of resident camping, approved and under the auspices and standards of the Boy Scouts of America; the balance of the camping must be overnight, weekend, or other short-term camps


Each year, upon holding a troop or team election for youth candidates which results in at least one youth candidate being elected, the Troop Committee may recommend one adult to the lodge adult selection committee. Troops or teams having more than 50 registered active youth members may nominate an additional adult for every 50 registered active youth, or fraction thereof. The following conditions are the basis for candidate selection and MUST be fulfilled to be considered.
  1. Selection of the adult is based upon ability to perform the necessary functions to help the Order fulfill its purpose, and not for recognition of service, including current or prior achievement and position.
  2. The camping requirements that apply for youth candidates apply to adult candidates and must have been fulfilled within the most recent two years prior to recommendation for membership. The requirement, which is a minimum of fifteen days and nights of camping, which must include six days and five nights of resident camping approved and under the auspices and standards of the Boy Scouts of America.
  3. This adult leader's membership will provide a positive role model for the growth and development of the youth members of the lodge.

How Is the Election Run?

  • Elections should be run by a Unit Elections team from the Lodge or Chapter. 
  • At least 50% of the troop's active members must be present for there to be an election.
  • Each unit may hold ONE election a year. 
  • The unit leader will provide the team with a list of all youth who meet the eligibility requirements including attitude and participation (this is part of the "approval by the Scoutmaster" eligibility requirement listed above). 
  • All Scouts under the age of 18 have a vote. 

Since the majority of unit members are not OA members, the OA is unique in that its membership is controlled by non-members.

When Is The Election Complete?

All eligible youths who receive votes from at least 50% of those turned in are elected. 

If no one is elected, a second vote may be held immediately and the result of this vote is final.

A voter may list on his ballot any combination of names, including all eligible candidates who he believes are worthy to become members of the Order of the Arrow.

How Are Votes Counted?

After the voting is finished, the Unit Election team counts the number of ballots turned in, determines the number of votes needed for a Scout to be elected and determines which Scouts were elected.

The team must first figure out the minimum number of votes needed to be elected. This number is half of an even number of ballots. If the number of ballots turned in was odd, then add 1, and divide by 2. 

The votes are counted in private with the team and the unit leader or his/her designeé to determine who has been elected.  All votes count equally. If at least one has been elected, this vote is final.  If no one is elected, the team may announce that a second election will be held.  At no time is any information as to the number of votes any candidate received revealed.

Point for the Unit Election Team to Remind the Troop During the Election:

  • Select the candidates who, in your opinion, have set the best examples of brotherhood, cheerfulness, and service.
  • Vote only for those who you believe will continue in unselfish service to the troop.
  • If you feel no one is worthy, turn in a blank ballot.
  • If you are new in the unit and do not know the candidates well enough to vote wisely, you may abstain by not turning in a ballot at all. This will not affect the final result.
  • Scouts eligible for election also vote, and they may vote for themselves, if they feel they are worthy.

What Happens After the Election?

The unit leader has the option of announcing those elected, or waiting until they can be called out in a public ceremony.

After election, a youth or adult remains a candidate until the completion of the Ordeal and the Ordeal Ceremony.  If this period of candidacy exceeds one year, the candidate's name is dropped and he is no longer a candidate.  To become a candidate again, he must be reelected.

 - Excerpts taken from the official OA "Guide for Officers and Advisers", 1999 revision