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. JJones

    JJones Moderator Staff Member

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    I agree that it's tricky and I've wondered what I'd do if I were in the same position. I know I wouldn't vote if I couldn't vote my conscious, even if my vote wouldn't make a difference.
     
  2. FlBrother324

    FlBrother324 Registered User

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    My Brothers,
    It is the responsibility of the WM to validate the total number of votes in the ballot box, as well as the outcome of the vote that corresponds to Brothers voting. If the numbers don't match, the vote is invalid and must be redone. No voting Brother present may abstain from voting.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2013
  3. mrm113

    mrm113 Registered User

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    i completely agree...

    S &F Yours,
    Marvin E. Williams Jr.


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  4. crowens783

    crowens783 Registered User

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    I am with Michael Hatley,

    I do not see the need to even have the Ball/Cube. Why not talk about as we do with everything else?

    I have no problem letting the brothers know I feel he should be let in or not.
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2013
  5. JJones

    JJones Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm torn with this.

    What if the petitioner is another brother's buddy? You may not feel he'd make a good mason (and it may be very justified) but if that brother overheard it could cause a rift or other problems. What if it's the same situation but instead of being his buddy it's his son?

    I feel it's smart to be able to discuss things but I also see how it could cause drama. I think the law takes a 'better safe than sorry' approach to this.
     
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  6. Brother JC

    Brother JC Vigilant Staff Member

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    In my lodges, more men are told no before the ballot than after, because we DO talk about it. All it takes is one member (usually on the Investigation Committee) to have an objection.
     
  7. crono782

    crono782 Premium Member

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    Yah, there is actually a purpose for secret ballot. Some may feel that they don't have a problem with their ballot being known, but others may not want theirs known.
     
  8. Brother JC

    Brother JC Vigilant Staff Member

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    Exactly. If it goes to ballot, it must remain secret, but prior to that all petitions should be discussed by the members of the lodge, and anyone who feels they might have reason to blackball someone should say so.
     
  9. crowens783

    crowens783 Registered User

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    You have a valid point JJones, I'm sure it could cause some issues and it very well could be my son one day. On the other hand this fraternity is not for "look at me I am a mason" nor would I ever let anyone that is like that in, son or not. If my son is not worthy of this fraternity then he should not be let in because he is my son. If someone is not worthy than he will not get in if with in my power to prevent it. Do I think that one man should be able to determine another's future in the lodge, no. If I am to recommend a man to be a mason and another brother knows something I do not, I feel he is obligated to let me know what kind of man he is. I am sure that there are people out there would not be just as you have stated and I agree with you on the GL taking it better safe than sorry. This is just my opinion and how I feel about the situation. I hope this is not taken the wrong way cause I mean no harm in what I say or how I have said it.
     
  10. Brother_Steve

    Brother_Steve Premium Member

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    I think the issue with this is that we are not allowed to sway a vote. I don't think I am allowed to converse about a candidate with another mason. My vote would be known by another in a round about way if I did say so and so is not fit for the fraternity. IE "hey, john smith is actually a pathological liar. I went to college with him and he used to cheat on every exam he could and lie to your face about it." I personally feel the way we vote is antiquated. 300 years ago up until the advent of accessible transportation we all knew each other whereas today the candidate could be living on the same street as you or the next two towns over. This is especially true in lodges located in more urbanized townships. We rely solely on the report of the investigation committee for our vote. Favorable or unfavorable. Granted, like in Masonry, there are exceptions to the rules so are there exceptions to my synopsis above. If someone is poison in a lodge at the time of a vote, then you can assume he has company. One or Three may not make a difference. We can all say that, "if my friend had been in a three black ball state he would have got in." The vote is secret. There could have been 4 black balls. There could have been only two black balls. We will never know...
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2013
  11. crowens783

    crowens783 Registered User

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    Very true, so how are we to make sure that only true worthy good man gets in. I am still young to the fraternity and learning myself. Is it truly wrong to say something when you know someone is not worthy?


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  12. Brother_Steve

    Brother_Steve Premium Member

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    I have only been involved in one ballot since being raised. I was told in a masonic class that it is not a Mason's place to discuss a vote either before or after a ballot. You *might* be able to approach the WM in private but that might vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

    I want to believe we let all good men through the door. It is those that have lost their "light" when it comes to our working tools that cause issues within the lodge. Their masonic career did not go as they planned it or something else happened that caused a rift in the lodge. The ones that recognize this stay away for a while to not disrupt the harmony of the lodge. Other members might use the ballot as a means of protesting a sitting Master.

    "You don't do what I want? Fine, you're not going to get to initiate anyone in your year as Master."

    This could mean no degree work if there are not already any EA's or FC's waiting to move up.

    IF the worshipful master sees issues within the lodge he may ask so and so to stay home the night of the ballot though. I dont have our constitution handy to see if a WM can legally keep a member of the lodge from attending a stated communication so that option might be out unless a PM can "persuade" someone to miss a voting night.
     
  13. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    It is a landmark that the ballot is absolutely secret. It should be a chargeable offense to ask what any other brother voted or to tell what you voted.

    In the time between the committee's report and the degree, one of my jurisdictions allows a private objection to be filed with the WM (CA). Another of my jurisdictions does not allow that to happen so only the ballot is allowed for objections (IL). This is definitely a detail that varies jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

    It is possible for one disgruntled brother to destroy his lodge. This is a necessary side effect of the combination of only needing one black cube to reject plus a ballot that is absolutely secret. It has happened across the span of time. It is also possible to handle the issue in other ways if specific other brothers put the life of their lodge above their own feelings.

    He can ask, but the right to attend one's own lodge is a landmark. No member in good standing may be excluded from a lodge meeting he presents himself to. This is one of the points of only holding ballots on Stated meetings. All members know the date of all Stated meetings because the date is listed in the by-laws that all members have signed. Written notice is required to change the date, time or place of a Stated meeting in order that every member who chooses to attend at least in theory knows exactly when and where to show up. This is why it's not allowed in any jurisdiction (or should not be) to ballot at any other type of meeting.
     
  14. JJones

    JJones Moderator Staff Member

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    I wouldn't say it's antiquated, in fact I think you mentioned a key aspect that tends to get overlooked...and that's the investigation committee. If they do their job thoroughly then this conversation wouldn't be necessary anyhow IMO. Unfortunately in many lodges investigations are treated more as a formality than a necessity.

    Perhaps if you think a petitioner is a bad fit for the lodge it'd be appropriate to bring your concerns to the investigation committee during the investigation phase? After all, this is the phase in the application process where the brethren are supposed to learn as much as they can about the petitioner.
     
  15. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

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    I believe that, if a Brother possesses knowledge, good OR bad, about a petitioner, he has the DUTY to advise the investigating committee accordingly.
     
  16. Chamotox

    Chamotox Registered User

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    In my lodge in Hungary, for the full rejection 3 black balls needed, and if there are two black balls in the ballot box the Master of the lodge calls upon the brother anonymously to talk to him in 5 days privately, and declares the balloting grey. If the Master of the Lodge finds the reason of the black ball firm and valid he declares the balloting black and rejects the candidate, if he does not or the voter doesn't show up, he declares it white and the lodge accepts the candidate. I think it is a right middle way.


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  17. jjjjjggggg

    jjjjjggggg Premium Member

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    As a petitioner I realize my opinion amounts to squat... But the "one is enough" doesn't seem fair, as I have encountered some folks who would black ball somebody purely on race... and if a few of my black friends approached me about petitioning I'd be awfully embarrassed and disappointed if they would not be accepted. Part of the reason I want to be a mason is because I thought they were suppose to be the champions of equality and reason.


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  18. tldubb

    tldubb Premium Member

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    Our Grand Lodge changed it to from one to three.

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  19. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    It's not supposed to be fair. One brother is supposed to be able to exclude any candidate with or without valid reasons and that's not fair. In fact it does occasionally happen that brothers exclude candidates for improper reasons. It doesn't have to be about prejudice. A brother might reject because he's doing a veto on the current line. A brother might hold pique against his entire lodge and reject until something major changes in it (or in him). Or the reason might be valid but kept private because the secrecy of the ballot is sacrosanct.

    We are told to be very careful about the men who we recommend and the possibility of a brother using the ballot for un-Masonic reasons is one of the reasons we are told to be careful.

    When a brother rejects a candidate for improper reasons it reflects on all of us more than it does on that one candidate. A man rejected without knowing why can be expected to hold a low opinion of us for the rest of his life.

    Whether it makes sense to change the rules to require more than one rejection, I can't judge that for other jurisdictions. To me the anonymous ballot is a landmark so the problem should be solved some other way.

    As far as prejudice goes, it's our internal problem. Our principles teach us to get past them but not all brothers are able to bring themselves to do so. Our principles also teach that we are to have harmony in our assemblies but not all brothers are able to set their prejudices aside to be able to do so. Our landmarks specifically forbid the discussion of sectarian religion and partisan politics because those are not visible attributes of a man so they can be kept secret. Masonry led the world on those types of prejudice because secrecy worked for them. But visible attributes? That's our internal problem.

    If I saw a rejection based on what I believed was racial prejudice I would not darken the door of that lodge again and I would demit to another lodge were I a member. But living in a racially integrated neighborhood of "Military City, USA" I have the luxury of many lodges to chose among and the certainty that I have lodges to chose among. If work required me to move to a region where I couldn't avoid the issue I'd likely start checking about American Legion posts for the moment as well as checking out job boards for another relocation. I am tolerant of tolerance and intolerant of intolerance.
     
  20. jjjjjggggg

    jjjjjggggg Premium Member

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    Dfreybur,

    Wonderful explanation, makes sense... and helps calm my fears... Very excited about my petition, but didn't want to be a part of a "good ol boys club" where racism, though unspoken, would still be the norm.

    I have some further concerns but would probably be better discussed privately.


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