Ask the Chairman - How do we handle elections for Scouts who may be dual registered?

Q. Ray,
We recently had a “paper troop” hold an OA election. Is there any official policy or guidance to deal with boys who are dual/triple registered in troops and crews? It makes sense to me that a boy only be allowed to be on one ballot per election season, but is that official? I would think that if a boy's primary registration is with a crew that he not be on a troop's ballot.

Thank you for the time,

A. Mike,
Thank you for your concern regarding properly conducting unit elections in your council.

The Order of the Arrow does not create or monitor BSA membership questions. Those are set by the National Executive Board of the BSA. From the OA’s perspective, if the BSA council issues a membership card to a youth, we consider the card carrier to be a viable candidate to be potentially put on the ballot by their local troop, once the Scoutmaster verifies compliance with both the requirements AND adherence to the Scout Oath and Law in his daily life. So, there is nothing we as the OA can do about dual troop-Venturing crew registrations. So long as the Scout is not registering in multiple troops and voting in more than one, there is no national prohibition.

Of course, an OA unit election still requires a chartered troop, registered Scouts who meet our eligibility requirements (including, significantly, the First Class rank requirement), 15 nights camping in the last two years, and a Scoutmaster who will certify eligibility. These requirements are very tough to achieve in what you call a “paper troop”. If there is fraud involved, I would report that directly and promptly to the Scout Executive of the council.

In addition, if you think that a Venturing crew is conducting OA elections (which IS prohibited) or if this “paper troop,” which is encouraging multiple or cross registrations, I would definitely report both to the appropriate Scout Executive, who, as Supreme Chief of the Fire, would stop any Venturing crew elections in his council AND would be very concerned about mis-stating or double counting membership, something for which the BSA will periodically audit councils and is very much prohibited if it is meant to skirt rules, regulations and proper reporting of the number of youth served by the council.

There are some legitimate circumstances for dual-membership and without knowing the local situation with that young man, I am at a loss in rendering a judgment, but the Scout Executive would be very interested in your concern about having paper units and double-counted membership rolls. Please share your concerns with him so that he can ask a commissioner, district executive or OA staff adviser to look into any potential improprieties.

I hope that helps!

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