The Hugo nominating ballot is sent out at the beginning of the calendar year to all members of the current Worldcon, the previous Worldcon and the next Worldcon, and to anyone who joins after the start of the year through January 31st when they join.
The ballot lists the Hugo categories and the rules governing the Hugos excerpted from the WSFS constitution. It allows each voter to vote for up to five entities in each category to become official Hugo nominees in each category. The ballot exists on paper (it's usually included with a Worldcon progress report) and also normally is available on-line.
Each member may cast one and only one ballot -- it does not matter if the member is a member of the previous, the current and the next Worldcon.
When the nominations balloting period ends -- typically in March or April -- the Hugo administrator (assisted by the Hugo subcommittee, if there is one) counts the ballots to determine who has been nominated. (There are some subtle details in this process. See Nominating ballot details for more.)
The Hugo administrator makes a reasonable effort to contact each nominee to give them an opportunity to reject the nomination. Once that reasonable effort has been made, the final ballot is constructed from the list of nominees.
While anyone can be nominated, we only use the term nominee for some who reaches the final ballot.
See also Hugo Rules.
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