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Voting in Lodges viva voce, or by "aye" and "nay," is a modern innovation in America. During the Grand Mastership of the Earl of Loudoun, on April 6, 1736, the Grand Lodge of England, on the motion of Deputy Grand Master Ward, adopted "a new Regulation of ten rules for explaining what concerned the decency of Assemblies and Communications." The tenth of these rules is in the following words: "The opinions or votes of the members are always to be signified by each holding up one of his hands; which uplifted hands the Grand Wardens are to count, unless the number of hands be so unequal as to render the counting useless. Nor should any other kind of division be ever admitted among Masons" (Constitutions, 1738, page 178). The usual mode of putting the question is for the presiding officer to say: "So many as are in favor avid signify the same by the usual sign of the Order," and then, when those votes have been counted to say: "So many as are of a contrary opinion will signify the same by the same sign." The votes are now counted by the Senior Deacon in a subordinate Lodge, and by the Senior Grand Deacon in a Grand Lodge, it having been found inconvenient for the Grand Wardens to perform that duty. The number of votes on each side is communicated by the Deacon to the presiding officer, who announces the result. The same method of voting should be observed in all Masonic Bodies.

- Source: Mackey's Encyclopedia of Freemasonry

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