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Blackballing was a rejection technique used in elections to membership of a gentlemen’s club (as well as similarly organised institutions such as Freemasonry and fraternities). The principle of such a club was that it was self-perpetuating; i.e., new members could only be elected by existing members. This was to ensure that new members were congenial to the old members, which helped to preserve the ethos (and exclusivity) of the club. The term is also used as a synonym to blacklist.
The favoured method of election was by the ballot box, which was a wooden box into which those participating in the election placed a small ball or ballot. A white ball signified support; a black ball signified opposition. The box was usually designed so that observers could not see how the voter was voting; it was all done under cover of the box, or of a combination of a cloth and the box itself.

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