One black ball?

Discussion in 'General Freemasonry Discussion' started by Mac, Jul 19, 2011.

?

Should one black ball be all it takes to reject a candidate?

  1. Yes

    59 vote(s)
    40.7%
  2. No

    86 vote(s)
    59.3%
  1. Aleister

    Aleister Registered User

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    Aleister

    Interesting
     
  2. Michael Hatley

    Michael Hatley Premium Member

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    My personal view? I'd have it take one vote.

    But I'd make the vote public. Make a man justify excluding another from the fraternity. Stand up and own your vote. If we are honest with each other, completely, then what need is there for a secret ballot style voting process.

    I'm perfectly willing to be identified with my votes, now and forever. And to vote down someone I truly and seriously thought was not fit. To explain my reasoning. And to own it. I've nothing to hide nor can I be intimidated. People who do or can puzzle me, a little.

    But I understand the reasoning and know my way wouldn't stand much of a chance of being adopted. Knowing that, the three method is the better of the two choices in my opinion.
     
  3. dnewman3

    dnewman3 Registered User

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    I like three. Maybe we should focus more on getting to know the person so we can "vouch" for his internal qualifications. I personally would feel uncomfortable signing a petetion unless i knew the gentleman.
    so does this mean we "beef" up our investigations?
     
  4. jwhoff

    jwhoff Premium Member

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    ahhhhhhhhhhhhh. YEAH! I'm for it. We're betraying the brotherhood otherwise.
     
  5. Dave in Waco

    Dave in Waco Premium Member

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    I agree wholeheartedly. As pointed out, on every other thing we vote on, we have an opportunity for discussion. So why do we not have discussion on what is perhaps the single most important thing to the Fraternity, the admission of a new candidate? It might stop some of the backroom electioneering that is against our law. But at least this way, the discussion would be in the open forum of the Lodgeroom where it should be. But it would give a brother a chance to voice their concerns about the candidate that might have been missed by the investigation committee, or it could clear up other information a brother heard as rumor that would be affecting how that brother votes.


    For example, I have a very common name, David Johnson, and I know at least 5 other David Johnson's. So what if one of the brothers who doesn't know me personally, heard a rumor or even had bad dealings with another David Johnson but by the information given doesn't know that that David Johnson and I are not the same? Most likely he would black ball me under the false impression I am the David Johnson he had bad dealings. But in an open discussion, he would be able to voice his concerns and my recommenders and/or the investigation committee would be able to address them and clear up his misidentification.

    Another example might be that the night of the vote, a brother comes in and knows the candidate and knows that he was not truthful on petition. By law, all this brother can do is black ball the candidate. But if there is discussion, he can present his knowledge to the lodge so that they can make a more informed and better ballot, thus better guarding the West Gate. Plus if there is no discussion and the WM has 3 black balls, he knows something is afoot, and can reopen the floor for more discussion.

    But I think there needs to be some discussion regardless if it is 1 or 3 balck balls.
     
  6. JJones

    JJones Moderator Staff Member

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    Maybe I'm getting off topic here, but if a brother has concerns or information about a potential candidate isn't it legal to approach the investigation committee? They could use that information in their investigation at that point.

    I'm not sure how I'd feel about open discussion of candidates. What if the candidate is the brother, son, or father, of a brother sitting in the lodge? I doubt many people would stand up and voice their concerns if they felt doing so would cause problems.
     
  7. Dave in Waco

    Dave in Waco Premium Member

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    The brother may not have time to inform the Investigation committee. He may have been out the week the petition was read.

    If the candidate were the brother, son, or father of another brother sitting in the lodge. The members of the lodge still reserve the right to hear a brother concerned. He may have a legitimate reason for expressing why he disagrees with that candidate. I mean that relative may not know that about the candidate themselves. And if they did know the reason that and it hadn't been disclosed that would mean the candidate lied on his petition anyway. But on the other side, a relative should be able to give better information. If the objector has a personal beef with them, then that will come out and the relative would could dismiss it. If the objector has incorrect information, the relative would be there to give the correct information, thus saving a candidate who may not have made it otherwise. Yes it could cause a problem in the lodge if someone objected and there was a legitimate reason, such as the lying. But the relative either didn't know about it, or was hiding it. If they didn't know, that should change their mind about their relative. If they were hiding it, would you really want either of those relatives in lodge knowing that the brother tried to defraud the lodge agains their obligation?
     
  8. JJones

    JJones Moderator Staff Member

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    No I wouldn't but if the brother was unaware or the concerns were false it might embarrass or upset him. I think in an ideal world we should be able to discuss these things freely but I just wonder if it's too optimistic to expect this to solve the problem with no side effects.

    That being said, I certainly don't claim to have all the answers either, you might just be on to something.
     
  9. Dave in Waco

    Dave in Waco Premium Member

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    That would be when the WM should step in to make sure it doesn't get out of control. And the concern should be made in a constructive and respectful manner to begin with. Afterall, it's supposed to be a discussion not a knife fight. Chances are, if someone doesn't want the guy, they are still going to take the steps to see he doesn't make it in.

    But there would be some side effect even if the concern wasn't voiced, since the brother with the concern would most likely black ball the candidate anyway. True the relative would now know how might have a problem the candidate if the candidate was black balled, but it might have also saved the candidate. And if it were me sitting in lodge and someone I recommended had something they didn't tell me about that embrassed me when I find out from someone in open lodge, I wouldn't be too happy with my relative for making me look like a liar because he asked me to vouche that he was a good man.
     
  10. Stephen

    Stephen Registered User

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    In Virginia it is a single black cube, and at our last stated a really good man was refused light in masonry.
     
  11. Michael Hatley

    Michael Hatley Premium Member

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    I was thinking more about that I would talk directly with a brother affected by my doubts or questions. If Bro. Smith's nephew was up, but I had doubts about something like I don't know, time availability or whatever. I'd have a private word with Bro. Smith about my reservations, and allow him to either put my mind at ease or to understand why I have the reservations I do.

    If I felt I could not go directly to that Brother with that sort of discussion, I'd go through the WM.

    If a group of people are communicating, I have trouble seeing a contentious matter coming to a vote in the first place because of that.

    Its true perhaps I'm being overly optimistic. But in that environment enforced by public vote, it puts gravity on the side of people not voting down people for superficial reasons in my opinion.

    Outside of that sort of ideal, three, in my opinion. For the reason above.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2011
  12. Huw

    Huw Guest

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    Hi All.

    Here in England, the default rule laid down by UGLE is 3 black balls exclude. However, each individual Lodge has the right to reduce that to 2 or to 1 by by-law if it wishes (but it can't be increased to more than 3). Most just use the 3-ball rule. I quite like our rule on this, giving Lodges the choice of system.

    After interview, prospective Candidates are discussed by the committee, who make their recommendation to the Lodge, and usually the Lodge follows the recommendation without debate. However, if any Brother wishes to say anything about the applicant in open Lodge, then we have no rule against it, although it's unusual to do so. Your rule of completely prohibiting further discussion surprises me, and I think allowing discussion is advantageous for the reasons some previous posters here have already mentioned.

    Black balls are very rare here. I've never actually witnessed it in the Craft Lodge (and only once in one of the additional Orders). We have a strong custom that if someone has an objection, then he ought to mention it to the Master or Secretary before the application gets as far as the ballot, and usually one Brother mentioning an objection is enough to halt the process. Nevertheless, there are occasional circumstances in which it's not appropriate for an objector to say anything, or in which a proposer and seconder might stubbornly insist on going to a ballot even in the face of a known objection (which they have the right to do under our rules, although they'd certainly be advised not to insist). Therefore the anonymous black ball remains necessary as a last resort.

    T & F,

    Huw
     
  13. jwhoff

    jwhoff Premium Member

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    Just pulled in from a GLoTx warden's retreat this weekend. This topic was discussed. In Texas the vote must ensue though protests may have been lodged. The protests are taken into account after WM informs both SW and JW protests have been logged. Discussion of the candidate in open lodge is not permitted in Texas. Nor are any comments which may be added to the investigation reports of the investigators. If the protester is in the lodge at the time, the WM disregards his protest and counts his black ball only. Otherwise, at the end of the vote the WM announces a protest and, if the protest brings the number to three black balls, the candidate is refused degrees for one year. More black balls can increase the band to three years.

    It is truly fascinating how various jurisdictions handle jurisprudence as well as common law masonry. We can all learn more from such discussions. Please keep them coming brethren.

    Thanks brother Huw.
     
  14. JTM

    JTM "Just in case" Premium Member

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    For me "one black ball" boils down to me trusting a single brother to know best what is best for this fraternity. I'm not sure I'm ready for that at this point. In the future, yes, but not at this moment.
     
  15. Zack

    Zack Registered User

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    Not saying this is true in Texas but, where I'm from you are putting what is best for the fraternity in the hands of 3 on the investigating committee, which I know from observation is very haphazard at best. One way or the other it is putting trust in someone.
     
  16. JJones

    JJones Moderator Staff Member

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    Something interested I learned last night...our DD made his annual visit and mentioned during his communication that going back to the one-ball standard may be a good possibility pretty soon.

    I don't know how I feel about it anymore as I could argue for both sides. I guess we'll cross that bridge if and when we get to it.
     
  17. Mac

    Mac Moderator Premium Member

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    That's only a possibility if the brethren choose for it to be.
     
  18. Benton

    Benton Premium Member

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    It would definitely have to go up for a vote at Grand Lodge. Not sure how that would end up, honestly.
     
  19. Pennsyltucky

    Pennsyltucky Registered User

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    I find the comments interesting and can see the dilemma in other states. I just read a long response from a Pennsylvania site where the Grand Master has moved them to the three black ball system. It seems to have caused a lot of issue in the craft. They were, I believe, using the unanimous vote in the past. As a Senior Warden in a Kentucky Lodge I have seen the issue of voting out a candidate because member did not like his father. We have the unanimous system here in Kentucky. It is too easy to lose a good man due to petty differences with this system.
     
  20. Wingnut

    Wingnut Premium Member

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    To me this is the biggest problem...
     

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