Object No.21

Ballot Box, 1890s

Object No.21
Object No.21

When members of a Masonic Lodge need to have a secret vote, they are given a ball which they place either in the Yes (Y) or No (N) drawer by inserting their hand in the middle hole. The most important secret ballot is when they make their decision on admitting new members to the Lodge.

In earlier days members were given a white and a black ball, one of which they would put in a plate covered by a cloth. When the cloth was removed the presence of any black balls meant a ‘No’ vote – hence the phrase that someone is ‘black-balled’.

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