Before the Ballot Box

How is the junior grandwarden really chosen?

By Ian A. Stewart

The road that leads to sitting in the east can be a long and winding one indeed. That’s never more apparent than in the selection of a new junior grand warden—the first step in what ultimately leads to the election of a new grand master. And while the process isn’t a secret, it can feel a little convoluted. Here, a guide to selecting the fraternity’s next boss in waiting.

The Committee is Formed

A recommending committee meets once a year to consider candidates to stand for election as the junior grand warden—the first of four grand lodge offices t

hat person will occupy, culminating in a year serving as grand master. The committee is made up of all past grand masters, the current grand master, deputy grand master, senior grand warden, junior grand warden, and representatives from each of California’s nine Masonic divisions, who are selected by the grand master. 

Names in the Hat

First, the committee votes to establish its rules. Every member of the committee is allowed to present candidates for junior grand warden. Typically, if a nominee’s name is submitted by at least three committee members, they are placed into consideration and a formal biography is presented to the committee for review. The candidate is not informed that they are under consideration.

Make a Pick

From that group, the committee begins the voting process to select its recommendation. This can take an entire day. Over several rounds of voting, the process ultimately produces a single recommendee, as well as an alternate. The winner is informed that they’ve been selected and asked to accept the position.

If they decline, the committee approaches the alternate. Far more often, though, they accept, and become the Grand Lodge’s recommendation for the next junior grand warden.

The Big Vote

The recommendee is announced to the fraternity days later. On the Saturday of Annual Communication, he is formally nominated for the position—along with any other nominations from the floor—and balloted on by the assembled grand lodge, consisting of all grand lodge officers and two representatives from each lodge, typically the master and secretary. Provided they are approved by a majority, the nominee is installed as junior grand warden the following day, beginning the four-year journey to grand master.

Peter Hoey

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