Hugo stats: numbers of nominating ballots

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This page provides statistics about the number of people nominating for Hugo Awards over time.

There's an excellent George Flynn article titled “Hugo Voting: Let's Look at the Record (Again),” giving all sorts of statistics about numbers related to Hugo voting, covering the years 1971 through 1999. (Flynn had written an earlier article in 1988, and the original version of this one in 1995, but the latest revised version came in '99.)

In 2007, I collected some related data and turned it into the first version of the table below. I don't have enough data to fill in all the boxes in Flynn's table 1, but I do have some of it. I replaced some of Flynn's columns (that I don't have data for) with others of interest to me: for both nominating and final ballots, I'm including the number of electronic ballots cast, and the percentage of total ballots that were cast electronically.

In 2015, I decided to convert my original post into a page that would be easier to update over time, and I added some numbers from the years since 2007.

Nominating and Final Ballot Counts (2000–2015)
Year Location Valid Nominating Ballots Valid Final Ballots No. of Categories[1]
Total Electronic % Electronic Total Electronic % Electronic
2000 Chicago 427[2] 130 30% 1101[2] 475 43% 13
2001 Philadelphia 495 178 36% ? ? ?% 13
2002 San José 626 371 59% ? ? ?% 14
2003 Toronto 738 ? ?% 776 (PDF) 478[3] 62% 14
2004 Boston ? ? ?% 1093 ? ?% 14
2005* Glasgow 546 (PDF) 436 80% 684 (PDF) 552 81% 15
2006 Los Angeles 533 434 81% ? ? ?% 14
2007* Yokohama 409 340 83% ? (PDF) ? ? 15
2008 Denver 483 ? ? 895 (PDF) ? ? 15
2009 Montreal 799 ? ? 1074 1040 97% 16
2010 Sydney* 864 ? ? 1094 ? ? 16
2011 Reno 1006 ? ? 2100 2086 99% 16
2012 Chicago 1101 ? ? 1922 ? ? 17
2013 San Antonio 1343 ? ? 1848 ? ? 17
2014 London* 1923 ? ? 3587 ? ? 17
2015 Spokane 2122 ? ? 5950 ? ? 17

(* = overseas WorldCon, following Flynn's convention)

[1] Number of categories includes Campbell, per Flynn's convention.

[2] All 2000 numbers may be off by 20 or 30; phrasing re invalid ballots is unclear.

[3] Not quite accurate; that's total electronic ballots, probably including a few invalid ones.

Here's a graph of the nominating ballots per year:

And a graph of the final ballots per year:

In 1999, Flynn noted that “since the mid-'70s the ‘normal’ Hugo nominating-ballot count has been fairly stable at around 500,” with the exception of overseas WorldCons and a few others. The above data suggests that, after a lull in the late '90s (when the average was about 450), the number of nominating ballots suddenly went way up in 2002 and, after another lull, has mostly continued to go up.

Does anyone have data about the total number of nominating ballots in 2004, or about the number of them submitted electronically in '03, '04, or '07, or later? I remember discussions from the early 2000s when some of us were sure that nominating and voting numbers would go way up with the advent of electronic voting; that didn't happen for years to the degree that we were hoping, but I suspect it's been a factor in the recent steep rises.

I'm also missing info about numbers of final ballots for some years. I'd be grateful to anyone who has data—ideally with links to official or semi-official sources.

Related resources

  • The official Hugo Awards site, which provided several of the abovelinked PDFs.
  • SmofInfo.com, which contains a bunch of useful material for people who want to run WorldCons, and also may be of interest to anyone interested in historical WorldCon info. There are Excel spreadsheets showing WorldCon size over time, for example, and hotel rates, and financial and business meeting reports, and so on.
  • WSFS Hugo Voting Reports, providing full nomination details and final-ballot details for most of the past several WorldCons.
  • Nippon 2007 press release, giving some numbers about nominations.

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