The SFL clubs were given the power to decide the fate of Charles Green's Sevco Scotland Limited, who were refused admission into the Clydesdale Bank Premier League.
The vast majority of SFL clubs who had made their views known favour putting Ally McCoist's side into the bottom tier, including Dunfermline, who refused to change their stance despite the package of radical reforms which were revealed on Wednesday as a carrot for clubs to ensure Rangers newco would start afresh in the second tier.
25 clubs of the 30 voted in favour of putting the Glasgow giants into the fourth tier of Scottish football, while only one club were against Rangers playing in the football league at all.
"This has been a very important day for Scottish football," said SFL chief David Longmuir.
"The member clubs have voted to willingly accept Rangers into the SFL. The only acceptable position was to accept the newco in Division Three from the start of 2012-2013.
"This has been on of the most difficult decisions to make for all concerned."
He added: "We are comfortable that the decision has been made with fairness and integrity in mind.
"We want to see better governance and better distribution of funds in the game."
Newco owner Charles Green had been stoic before the verdict, saying the club was prepared for any verdict, but warned that he feared the Rangers saga was not over.
"The fans have always said they are happy to go to (Division) Three, we just want to get a decision and move on.
"I hope it will be (the end of the situation) but I'm not convinced it will."