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Ballot, Secrecy of The

The secrecy of the ballot is as essential to its perfection as its unanimity or its independence. If the vote were to be given viva voce, or by word of mouth, it is impossible that the improper influences of fear or interest should not sometimes be exerted, and timid members be thus induced to vote contrary to the dictates of their reason and conscience.

Hence, to secure this secrecy and protect the purity of choice, it has been wisely established as a usage, not only that the vote shall in these eases be taken by a ballot, but that there shall be no subsequent discussion of the subject. Not only has no member a right to inquire how his fellows have voted, but it is wholly out of order for him to explain his own vote. The reason of this is evident. If one member has a right to rise in his place and announce that he deposited a white ball, then every other member has the same right in a Lodge of, say, twenty members, where an application has been rejected by one black ball, if nineteen members state that they did not deposit it, the inference is clear that the twentieth Brother has done so, and thus the secrecy of the ballot is at once destroyed.

The rejection having been announced from the Chair, the Lodge should at once proceed to other business, and it is the sacred duty of the presiding officer peremptorily and at once to check any rising discussion of the subject. Nothing must be done to impair the inviolable secrecy of the ballot.

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