There are three phases to
the election process. They are:
1) Pre-Scrutiny, during which ballots are prepared and
2) Scrutiny, during which the ballots are collected and
3) Post-Scrutiny, during which the ballots are counted, checked
During the Pre-Scrutiny the ballots are prepared and
distributed, and, 9 Electors are chosen by lot to serve as 3
Scrutineers, 3 Infirmarii and 3 Revisers.
The Scrutineers are three Cardinal Electors chosen by lot to
gather and count the ballots. They stand at the altar as the
Electors come up individually to deposit their votes. One of
them also collects the votes of those present who are not
physically able to come up to the altar. Afterwards, sitting at
a table in front of the altar they tabulate the ballots to
determine if an election has occurred.
The Infirmarii are three Cardinal Electors chosen by lot to
take ballots to Electors who although within the enclosure of
the Conclave are too sick to be present in the Sistine Chapel.
They take with them a locked box which, having been shown to
the other Electors to be empty, receives the votes of the
infirm. They return it unopened to the Scrutineers.
The Revisers are 3 Cardinal Electors chosen by lot to check
the ballot count and the notes of the Scrutineers to determine
if the tabulation of the ballots was carried out exactly and
After all ballots are in, including those brought from the sick
by the Infirmarii, the 1st Scrutineer shakes the receptacle several
times to mix the ballots. Then the 3rd Scrutineer counts them,
placing them in a second, empty, receptacle. If the number of
ballots does not equal the number of electors, they are burned, and
a second vote taken immediately. Otherwise, the Scrutineers proceed
to tabulate the vote.
Sitting at a table in front of the altar, the 1st Scrutineer
silently reads the name on a ballot, passes it to the 2nd Scrutineer
who does likewise, and then passes it to the 3rd Scrutineer, who
reads the name aloud and then writes it down. Each Elector also
writes it down on a sheet provided for this purpose. The ballot is
then pierced with a needle through the word eligo (I elect)
and placed on a thread for security.
When all ballots have been read the ends of the thread are tied
in a knot and the ballots are placed in a receptacle on one end of
The Scrutineers tabulate the vote count they
recorded by individuals receiving votes. They do this on a separate
sheet of paper from that on which the vote count was first made. The
Revisers then verify the results.