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IRV in action

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If you're interested in the details of the Hugo voting, see the voting breakdown page. Instant Runoff Voting came into play in some interesting ways this year:

For example, in the Best Short Story category, "The Bones of the Earth" was well ahead of "The Dog Said Bow-Wow" through the first few rounds of runoff/elimination, but most of the people who placed "Old MacDonald Had a Farm" before either of those preferred the Swanwick story to the LeGuin, so when "Old MacDonald" was eliminated, about half of its votes went to "Dog" and only about a quarter to "Bones," which was enough to push "Dog" over the top. (It was still remarkably close; in the final round of runoff, "Dog" ended up only 5 votes ahead of "Bones.")

Another interesting item: Lord of the Rings got a majority of the first-place votes, so no runoff happened at all in that category.

And perhaps most interesting of all, in the Best Pro Editor category: going by first-place votes alone, Ellen started out in fourth place. But she was ranked ahead of Gardner on a plurality of the ballots that listed one of the other editors first, which was enough to bring her to 17 votes more than Gardner

Similarly, in the Pro Artist category, my favorite Donato Giancola started out ahead, but supporters of other artists threw their second-place and later votes to Whelan, who ended up winning. And in the Fan Artist category, Frank Wu (a.k.a. "Hugo-nominated artist Frank Wu," as we fondly called him throughout the convention) started out way in the lead, but alas (for us Frank Wu fans), second-place and later votes mostly went to Teddy Harvia, who ended up winning.

I think one moral that can be drawn from the results is that a few votes can make a big difference; another is that 2nd-place and lower votes can make a gigantic difference. So remember this for next year's Hugos: be sure to vote, and be sure to rank your preferences (if you have any), rather than just listing the one item you want to win.

Finally, note that only 400-900 people voted in each category. The numbers in most categories are a little higher than average for recent years, but nothing to write home about. I'm not sure how many total votes were cast (I'll try and find out), but it looks like only about a thousand people determined who won the Hugos, as usual.

I talked with a fair number of people at the con who'd had no idea they could vote. So I'll leave you for tonight with three suggestions:

  • If you were a member of ConJosé, you're eligible to nominate for next year's Hugos, even if you're not going next year. If you care about this stuff at all, cast a nominating ballot!
  • If you're going to TorCon next year, keep an eye on the TorCon Web site. When the Hugo ballot is announced, vote!
  • Pass the above suggestions on to your friends.

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