Page 18 - Montana Freemason Magazine March 2014
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Montana Freemason                                           March 2014	                  Volume 90 Number 1
                            Lodge Elections, Balloting and Voting

                                                               Blake Gardiner (3)

  I have on numerous occasions sat in lodges and                               He is responsible only to the Grand Master and the
watched and listened as Worshipful Masters, Past                                GwhraenndhtehewaGsrainnsdtaLlloeddg, eh, itshceoonbscliigeantcieonasnhdehaisssGumode.d3
Masters, and other brothers completely ignored                                   The question that would now be raised by
Masonic Codes and etiquette when it came to matters                            uninformed brothers is, “What about Robert’s
of balloting and voting. There seems to be much                                Rules of Order?” The best quick answer to that
misunderstanding, and misinformation regarding                                 question is the following quote from “ROBERT’S
how votes are to be conducted in a lodge. I hope,                              RULES OF ORDER: MASONIC EDITION
with this article, to provide some specific guidance in                        REVISED AND EDITED BY MICHAEL R. POLL”.
accordance to the Montana Masonic Code (MMC) and
Masonic tradition, appropriate to constituent lodges.

   First, there are the specific requirements set                                 “The problem has always been that this work was not
forth in the MMC. These are the hard and fast                                     written with the Masonic lodge in mind and Masonic
rules, which allow for little interpretation or                                   lodges do not always follow classic parliamentary
deviation. Then secondarily, are the traditional                                  procedure. Many aspects of a properly run lodge
rules, sometimes referred to as “Masonic Etiquette.”                              are in conflict with what is considered correct
One of the problems with Masonic Etiquette and                                    parliamentary procedure. An example would be the
the “Ancient Landmarks” in many U.S. grand                                        relationship between the membership of a lodge and
jurisdictions including Montana, is that while they                               the Worshipful Master. In a club, there are times when
are referred to, and ostensibly followed, they are not                            the ruling of the presiding officer can be overturned
written down in any generally accepted documents.                                 by a vote of the membership. Such is not the case in a
	                                                                                 Masonic lodge. The nature of the office of Worshipful
   It is important to explain the statutory, traditional                          Master gives the one holding this office authority not
and ancient powers of the Worshipful Master. The                                  held by the presiding officer of most clubs. Any action
tWhaonrshaippfruelsiMdiansgterofofifcaerM.1 aWsohneinc  lodge  is much more       of the  membership that infringes                  oanrethoeutauotfhoorrditeyr.”o4r
                                                        he is  sitting in the     rights  of the Worshipful Master
East; the Master has control of the lodge. While he
may allow or solicit motions, he is not required to do                            According to the MMC , voting in lodge may be
so. He may decide who is recognized to speak, what                             conducted in three manners: Publicly by the uplifted
matters may be discussed, when to stop discussion,                             hand; privately, by written ballot; and by the casting of
and even whether a matter may be put to a vote. The                            white balls  obrybvloatcikncgubbyetsh.5eMuopsrtalioseddgehbanudsi.n5 eHssomwaeyvebre,
Master has a vote on   all  amtaitet2e.rsM, aontdionmsatyoeavdejnoucranst,     conducted
a second vote in case  of                                                      the code specifies that officers must be elected by a
division of the lodge and calling for the question by                
lodge members are never in order, those are solely at
the discretion of the Worshipful Master. While most
Masters will accept motions from the brothers, he is                              	
not required to do so. Additionally, the Master may                               By the MMC and tradition each Master Mason, in
put a matter to a vote by making his own motion.                               gtooovdotset6a,nudninlegssinththeevlootdegwe,oaunldd  is present is required
                                                                                                                                     directly benefit him.
     “It is the Master’s right to control lodge business                       A member choosing to abstain is not allowed by
   and work. He decides all points of order and no                              caondded, iistoibseadlsieonacefaoiflutrheetoWfourlsfhililpyfuoul rMMasatseor’nsiocrdduetry.7,
   appeal from his decision may be taken to the lodge.                         	
   He can initiate and terminate debate at his pleasure,                          Hopefully this article will not only clear
   he can second any motion, propose any motion, vote                          up some misunderstandings about voting in
   twice in the case of a tie (not universal), open and                        lodge. It should also call attention to the need
   close at his pleasure, with the usual exception that                        for each member to give careful thought to
   he may not open a Special Communication at an                               who you decide to elect as Worshipful Master.
   hour earlier than that given in the notice, or a Stated
   Communication earlier than the hour stated in the by-
   laws, without dispensation from the Grand Master.

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