With last week's issue, we opened the voting for our first Indy Music Awards. Ballots are coming in by mail and as of Tuesday more than 300 of our readers have voted online. With a much larger vote looming in November and with Florida 2000 still on some folks' minds, there's been some interest on how we're going to prevent ballot box stuffing.
This year we experimented with electronic balloting for our Best of the Triangle awards and with digital feedback for our annual Readership Survey. To set up the system for nominations and voting for the Indy Music Awards, we used what we learned and sought the advice of other papers and media that do similar music awards. We arrived at a hybrid between a system based on having official judges, a paper ballot and an online ballot. Here's how the system we set up works:
We decided very early on in the process that the initial set of nominations would come through polling a group of roughly 40 music writers, club owners, musicians, producers and other folks with a good sense of history and knowledge about the local music community. They each were asked to nominate three artists, records or songs in the various categories and then to vote on one of them once the nominees are announced.
The results of the panel's vote, the online ballot and the paper ballot, will be tabulated with equal weight given to the results from each of the three. As we did with the Best of vote, the Indy reserves the right to disqualify votes that are deemed to be part of a bid to stuff the ballot box.
We know that especially in this first year, whatever we set up will need refinement, but we've tried to set up a system that is fair and will give us an accurate reflection of the artists, records and songs that deserve to be called the best. So keep those cards and letters and clicks coming. The online ballot cutoff is this Sunday (Sept. 25) and the last paper ballots are due in on Monday (so mail 'em now!).
We look forward to the show (Saturday, Oct. 2 at the Cat's Cradle and the ArtsCenter), handing out those nifty statues, learning some lessons and then getting ready to do it all again next year. Don't forget that over the next four weeks, there'll be Sounds Local art exhibits around Carrboro that feature local music memorabilia, gear and other do-dads. Please visit our awards Web site at indymusicawards.com for more information about the art show and the awards show. And, as always, feel free to let us know how we can do a better job.