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Ballot Rules

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United States Grand Lodges

Oregon Code Sec. 240 & 241 regarding Objections
Grand Lodge Vote Needed Speaking Other Comments
Alabama Unanimous Members may discuss the character and qualifications of a candidate before the ballot is taken. Edicts chapter 16
Alaska unanimous No discussion is required (not known if any is permitted) Any member can object in private to the conferring of the EA degree to the WM, and if not withdrawn in 60 days, has the effect of a negative ballot.
Arizona Unanimous   Code section 78
Arkansas      
California unanimous Before a ballot is taken there may be discussion of the qualifications of the
applicant and the propriety of receiving him into the Lodge.
If a member of the Lodge objects to a petitioner, he may do so in Lodge or privately to the Master. No reason is
required. When a petition is read the Master says words to the effect of :
Brethren, you have heard the reading of the application of _________ for
________. If there be no objection it will be received. If an objection is
stated at this point, the application is never received. If the objection
is put forth after this point, either privately to the master or in Lodge,
the petition lies over for 60 days and if the objection is not withdrawn in
that time the application is declared rejected. Objections may be verbal or
in writing.
Colorado      
Connecticut Unanimous    
Delaware Unanimous   Code section 8-67
District of Columbia unanimous Names and other information about candidates are required to be in Lodge bulletins, and mailed in sealed envelopes.
No
speaking about qualifications of candidates
only members of the Lodge voting on the petition can sign the petition
Florida Unanimous   Code section 35.09
Georgia Unanimous ask question about petition only
questions about petitioner Not permitted
if mistake is made at the ballot box request must be made to Grand
Master to hold another ballot
Hawaii      
Idaho      
Illinois      
Indiana unanimous signers do not speak on the petitioner's behalf the ballet box is held on the Senior Deacons shoulder, so as to not let any brother see how the other brother is voting
Iowa unanimous no speaking done about petitioners  
Kansas unanimous   A brother may object to a candidate being Initiated, Passed or Raised in person at the time of the degree, but
such an objection is not permanent and if the objecting brother is not present the next time the candidate may
receive the degree
Kentucky Unanimous   Code section 130
Louisiana      
Maine Unanimous Speaking: Not permitted The Investigating Committee is a secret, only the Master knows who they are and they are not required to disclose why they recommended or rejected a candidate.
Maryland      
Massachusetts unanimous We may speak of the candidate between ballots. Master may make three
tries before rejection, then candidate must wait 6 months before re-applying.
Michigan      
Minnesota Unanimous   Code section G14.07
Mississippi      
Missouri 3 required to reject   Code section 13.070 (1991-177)
Montana Unanimous   Code section 38050

But also note 38060. CORRECTION OF POSSIBLE MISTAKE. If only one cube appears the Master, without declaring the result, shall at once order a second ballot which shall be the last for the purpose of correcting a possible mistake. The second ballot shall not be postponed to another meeting of the Lodge. If, despite this section, a second ballot to correct  a possible mistake is not taken, the candidate stands as though there had not been a ballot."

Nebraska Unanimous   Code section 2-1001
Nevada      
New Hampshire      
New Jersey unanimous not permitted to speak about the candidate in Lodge At our last communication of GL in April it was passed that any member of this jurisdiction may sign a petition. Prior to that, only members of the lodge applied to could sign
New Mexico      
New York When balloting on a new petitioner or an affiliation for
membership, it takes 3 black cubes to reject. If the ballot has 1 or 2
cubes it is deemed to be clear.
Lodge bulletin lists names of candidates to be balloted on. A motion from the floor to accept a brother as an "honorary" member requires a unanimous ballot, no black cubes.
North Carolina Unanimous   Code section 74-13
North Dakota unanimous ballot required, but at the 1999 GL meeting, a proposal will be considered to require 2 black cubes to reject    
Ohio Unanimous   Code section 26.01
Oklahoma Unanimous   Code section U-411
Oregon Unanimous No Discussion

Oregon Code Section 240 & 241 regarding objections

Pennsylvania Unanimous   Code section 21.04
Rhode Island      
South Carolina Unanimous    
South Dakota 2 black balls/cubes reject   Code section 4-97 (approved 1993)
Tennessee      
Texas 3 or more negative ballots required to reject Discussion of the candidate is not permitted. Questions about the petition responses are permitted Three negative ballots = 1 yr rejection
Four = 2 year rejection
Five or more = 3 year rejection

"If the ballot contains only one or two blackballs, and if no protest has been entered against the Petitioner, it shall be declared as favorable."
Candidate may re-apply after appropriate time
A candidate can be protested at any time during the petition process by
verbal communication with the Master of the Lodge.
An EA or FC can receive protests against advancement.
One protest is counted as the same as a one negative ballot with the
same rules as above.
Utah      
Vermont      
Virginia unanimous It is prohibited for the names of candidates to be printed in Lodge bulletins at any time.
Signers of petitions are expected to speak about qualifications of candidates for degrees or affiliation, others can speak, too
any Mason from any jurisdiction can sign a petition
Washington      
West Virginia Unanimous    
Wisconsin unanimous   If a negative vote is cast, the Master announces that whoever has a valid reason for rejecting the petitioner must tell it to the Master, in private, within 48 hours. If no one comes forward, the petitioner is elected. If a reason is given, the reason is transmitted to the Grand Master, who sends a written decision to the lodge about whether the reason is a valid Masonic one. If it is, the petitioner is rejected. If it is not, the petitioner is elected. The identity of the objector remains a secret.
Wyoming unanimous no speaking done about petitioners  
Summary 3 negative votes - black balls or cubes - are needed to reject a candidate in MO, NY, TX
2 negative votes - black balls or cubes - are needed to reject a candidate in SD
1 negative vote rejects in other states (as far as I know)

Members may discuss candidates before balloting in AL, CA, MA, VA
Members may NOT discuss candidates before balloting in DC, GA, IN, IA, ME, NJ TX

Note should be taken of Wisconsin's procedure, which appears to be different from all others.

Grand Lodges outside the United States

Grand Lodge Vote Needed Speaking Other Comments
Ontario, Canada 2 black balls are necessary to reject an
applicant, but a Lodge may, by bylaws, require unanimity
"brother shall not speak in favour of or against the candidate before the ballot is passed" after notice of the ballot is published, if an objection is made, the Master may postpone the ballot for 1 meeting only, with notice of the ballot repeated for the next meeting
England Usually two black balls are required to exclude but some Lodges have  altered their bylaws to one.  At the next Lodge meeting it is formally announced that Mr. XYZ has  applied to join the Lodge and either the Proposer or seconder or  both, say a few words. In the UK, a proposer stands up in the Lodge and announces that he is  intending to propose Mr. XYZ as a member of the Lodge. The application forms are then given. Name address and occupation go on the next circular sent out to all  Lodge members. It is never stated publicly but it is generally expected that any  objectors will say something long before this point.
Grand Lodge of France 3/4    

Article about Balloting procedures


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