It is a proud moment when the Chief's Bonnet is passed to the new National Chief of the Order of the Arrow.
But how is a new chief actually elected? Who does the election, and what process do they go through to find the new youth leaders for our organization?
"In late December each year, the section chiefs from across the nation gather to participate in the planning of the national program for the next calendar year. As their first order of business, the chiefs elect a national chief and national vice chief."
--Field Operations Guide
This is the main statement that you will find in the Field Operations Guide concerning the election of national officers. The complete election process is now published in the FOG. Now, the National OA Web Site will give you a peek inside the election room at how the election is done.
- On the first evening of the national planning meeting, the approved attendees will convene in the specified meeting room and be seated appropriately.
- The presiding officers will review and explain the election procedure.
- The presiding officers will explain the job responsibilities of the national chief (national vice chief), citing the FOG and their own personal experience, if they so choose. They may also invite the national chairman and/or the director to address the section chiefs.
- The presiding officers will answer any questions regarding the election process or job responsibilities.
- The names of all section chiefs ineligible for national office will be placed on slips of paper drawn out of a bag. The national chief will then draw one name and announce it to the section chiefs. The selected person, upon his consent, will be designated the ballot certifier. This process will be repeated if t is necessary to select a second ballot certifier.
- The section chiefs will be given five (5) minutes to silently review the approval letters they received upon arrival. The section chiefs will remain seated in alphabetical order.
- The presiding officers will open the floor to candidate declarations to run for office. All section chiefs wishing to run for the office will raise their hand and be recognized. Upon being recognized, the section chiefs will declare his intention to run for office and confirm his eligibility.
- After all declarations have been heard, the presiding officers will entertain a motion to close the floor to declarations of intent. The motion must be seconded and approved by a majority of the section chiefs. The presiding officers will then randomly establish the order of speeches by drawing names of declared section chiefs individually out of a bag. The order of section chiefs will be displayed on a digital projector as it is established. With the exception of a late arrival, no further section chiefs will be allowed to run for the office at hand.
- The presiding officers will recognize each nominee, in the randomly assigned order. Each recognized candidate will be given one minute to make comments to the electorate. All section chiefs, except the commenting nominee, will remain seated during this process.
- Section chiefs will then be given one minute to silently complete a ballot provided to them by the presiding officers. Section chiefs may vote for up to half of the nominated candidates, rounding up to the next whole number.
- The presiding officers will collect the ballots as they are completed. Section chiefs will remain seated and silent until all ballots have been collected.
- Once all ballots have been collected, the presiding officers and the ballot certifier(s) will privately convene in the front of the room.
- The presiding officers and the ballot certifier(s) will privately and collectively count the votes. The number of votes received by each candidate will be recorded. If, in the view of the presiding officers and the ballot certifier(s), any ballot contains more votes than the number allowed or any portion is deemed indiscernible, the entire ballot will be considered an abstention.
- The section chiefs will be called to order and seated; the complete results of round one will then be displayed. The presiding officers will then display the names of the candidates ( in the previously selected random order) who have qualified to advance to the next round. The number of section chiefs advancing to the next round will be equal to the number of candidates for which a section chief could vote.
- For the second and third rounds the presiding officers will recognize each nominee, in the randomly assigned order, for two (2) and two (2) minutes, respectively, to make comments to the electorate. All section chiefs, except the commenting nominee, will remain seated during this process.
- After rounds two and three, no comments will be given between balloting rounds. Balloting Rounds will continue until final voting procedures begin.
- The remaining candidates will be asked to leave the room. A presiding officer will escort them to a waiting room just outside of the election room. The final candidates will not communicate with anyone, except each other, while outside of the election room.
- Each section chief remaining in the room and each presiding officer will be issued a piece of paper on which he may choose to write down his name and one question. The presiding officers will then collect the slips and publicize the questions to the section chiefs. The presiding officers will guide the group in selecting three of the proposed questions.
- In the randomly assigned order, a presiding officer will invite the remaining candidates back into the room one-at-a-time. The submitting section chief will then ask his approved question. The candidate will have unlimited time to answer each question. After answering the questions, the candidate will leave the room and the other candidate(s) will be brought into the room to answer the same questions.
- With the final candidates remaining outside of the room, the presiding officers will distribute ballots and allow one minute for the remaining section chiefs to complete the ballots. Section chiefs may vote for only one candidate. One of the presiding officers and the ballot certifier will deliver a blank ballot to each of the removed final candidates. They will be given one minute to vote for one candidate. The presiding officer and the ballot certifier will then deliver the completed ballots back to the election room.
This process is repeated for election of the National Vice Chief. The elections typically start at 7:30 PM on the first day of the National Planning Meeting, and continue late into the night.
The following day after breakfast, the Section Chiefs break out by region for the election of the Region Chiefs. These elections follow the same basic process as for the National elections, but are much quicker. They usually last about an hour.
Once elected, the new officers immediately assume their responsibilities and provide leadership in planning the coming year's program of emphasis