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The 2001 Hugo Awards, The John W. Campbell Award, and the 1951 Retro Hugo Awards voting has closed.
Please join us at The Millennium Philcon on Friday, August 31, 8:30 pm for the Retro Hugo Award Ceremony where the winners of the Retro Hugo Awards will be announced; and join us on Sunday, September 2, 8:00 pm for the Hugo Award Ceremony where the winners of the Hugo Awards and The John W. Campbell Award will be announced.
The awards voting is conducted using a method known sometimes as a preferential ballot, sometimes as an "Australian" ballot, and sometimes as an "instant run-off" ballot. This voting method often confuses people because it's not what most people are used to when they vote. However, this method is very useful in situations where you cannot have multiple ballots to eliminate ties, or when no nominee obtains a win on the first round of counting. Hopefully, the explanation here will help people understand the method better.
Normally, when you have a number of choices on a ballot, you mark your choice for winner. Once all of the ballots are counted, the nominee who has a majority of the votes is the winner. A majority, in this context, doesn't mean more votes than any other nominee, it means more than half of the ballots cast. Let's look at a quick example: let's say there are three nominees, and 100 ballots cast:
|# votes cast|
Even though the first nominee got more votes than any other nominee, it's not the winner because it did not get a majority of the votes. Nominee 1 would have needed at least 51 votes (one more than half the ballots cast) to have a majority. So, under these circumstances, another vote would be required where the nominee with the least number of votes is dropped from the ballot and everyone re-votes on the remaining nominees.
However, we don't have time for multiple ballots to be mailed out and counted. To solve this problem, we use the preferential or "instant run-off" method we're about to describe.
In a preferential vote, when you mark your ballot, you rank the candidates in each category in the order you would prefer them to win. You put a "1" next to your first choice, a "2" next to your second choice, etc.
When the ballots are counted, if none of the nominees has a majority, the nominee with the lowest number of first place votes is dropped. The ballots voting that nominee as their first choice are re-examined to see what their second choice was, and the ballots are re-assigned to the remaining nominees based on that choice. This process is repeated (dropping the candidate with the lowest number of votes, and re-examining those ballots for their lower preferences) until one candidate obtains a majority. It sounds more complicated than it really is.
Let's look at another example with 5 nominees and several rounds of counting:
|Round 1||Round 2||Round 3||Round 4|
|Plan 9 From Outer Space||851||851||942||942|
|The 7th Voyage of Sinbad||629||629||674|
|Attack of the 50 Foot Woman||259||321|
|I Married a Monster from Outer Space||239|
As you can see, after the votes are counted in round 1, Plan 9 had more votes than any other but did not have a majority. There were 2353 votes cast so at least 1177 votes would have been needed to win. The fifth nominee had the least number of votes, so it was dropped and the ballots re-assigned based on the second choices marked. As you can see, some of those ballots got re-assigned to nominees 1 and 4 and some got dropped because no second choice was marked. Nominees 2 and 3 didn't pick up any votes. None of the nominees had a majority, so we had a third round of voting. Each nominee picked up some votes, but none had a majority. In the final round, The 7th Voyage of Sinbad had been dropped and some of its votes re-assigned to The Fly, and the rest of those ballots were dropped because no further nominees had been ranked. The Fly would now be declared the winner because it has a majority of the votes cast (at least 993 votes were needed to obtain a majority).
You can see how ranking all of the candidates can affect the outcome. The nominee eventually declared the winner didn't even have the most votes in any round until the last round!! So don't hesitate to rank other nominees you consider worthy of winning the award; if your first choice is eliminated, your preferences could determine the eventual winner. It might not be your first choice but your vote would still matter.
The only other thing to remember is how the special nominee "No Award" works. When you vote "No Award" you are not abstaining from voting in the category but saying that your preference is that no award be given in that category. The difference is that an abstention means you are not voting at all in that category, and your ballot doesn't affect the outcome in that category. A vote of "No Award" means that you would prefer that no award be given in that category to any of the nominees.
Here are a few tips to help you vote:
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