Boy Scout Survey Won't Mean Much if All Votes Aren't Counted

You may have heard about a survey the Boy Scouts of America recently announced. The results of the survey -- which asked questions including whether a lesbian should be able to lead a cub scout den -- were supposed to guide those in charge at the national level, when they decide next month if gay youth and leaders should be allowed to participate in the organization.

As a parent of three scouts, I was given the privilege of completing the survey. I knew I had until April 4 to do the online survey, and had put it off until April 1. But I still had plenty of time, I thought, as I sat down at my laptop the other night to log in.

But I was wrong. Even though the deadline was clearly stated as being April 4, due to an overwhelming response, I was shut out from completing the survey on April 1. A scout parent from Avon told me this morning that she had a similar experience, and wondered if I could look into it.

Yes, I could look into it, and I even got an answer from BSA’s public relations department. Unfortunately, I only hold one advanced degree, and I’ll need my attorney to translate this response:

The message you received was regarding the alternative site to sign up for the survey, if your email address was not in the ScoutNet system before the survey was issued.  Through that site members could register with their ID number and then it was run through a process to verify current membership.  That site closed to additional registrations on April 1 because it took several days to verify membership and run it against the list of those who have already been sent a survey to ensure there was no duplication. The site was open from February 28 to April 1 for members whose email addresses were not in the BSA system prior to February 28. The deadline for those members with email addresses on file prior to February 28 was longer because we did not have to validate the ID number.

In other words, I think, the deadline was changed to be a few days before the announced deadline, because they needed several days to verify email addresses. Couldn't those "several days" occur, say, next week? The annual national meeting is seven weeks from now.

I am, I’m told, allowed to add any comments I might have. But, like the parent in Avon who thought she could participate, my vote won’t be counted.

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