EWTN Catholic Q&A
Election - What happens?
Question from Andrew on 04-16-2005:

Hi. First, I would like to thank EWTN for all of their generosity in letting us ask questions! May God bless all of you, and may the late Pope John Paul II spend his eternal life in the presence of the Lord. I would like to know what exactly happens right after the Pope has been elected. Who counts the ballots? Are the cardinals required to put their names on the ballots? How is the Pope-elect contacted to let him know that he has been chosen? And finally, what happens if he refuses papacy? Thank you so much, EWTN!! God Bless!!

Answer by Colin B. Donovan, STL on 04-16-2005:

The procedures are described in the pages located at Voting.

The Cardinals do not put their names on the ballot. In fact, they are supposed to try to disguise their handwriting. Since the names are read out as they are counted, if the elect is one of the Cardinal electors he will see the impeding election at the same time as the rest of the Cardinals. If he declines, then the voting continues.