1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Blackball

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BLACKBALL, a token used for voting by ballot against the election of a candidate for membership of a club or other association. Formerly white and black balls about the size of pigeons' eggs were used respectively to represent votes for and against a candidate for such election; and although this method is now generally obsolete, the term "blackball" survives both as noun and verb. The rules of most clubs provide that a stated proportion of "blackballs" shall exclude candidates proposed for election, and the candidates so excluded are said to have been "blackballed"; but the ballot (q.v.) is now usually conducted by a method in which the favourable and adverse notes are not distinguished by different coloured balls at all. Either voting papers are employed, or balls—of which the colour has no significance—are cast into different compartments of a ballot-box according as they are favourable or adverse to the candidate.