2023 Worldcon Site Selection

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Site selection for the 2023 Worldcon was held at Discon III in 2021. The bids were Chengdu in 2023, launched in 2017, and Winnipeg in '23, which was allowed to file in 2021 after bid filing had officially closed. Discon’s reasons for changing their stance were not disclosed.

Bidders New Orleans in 2023 folded and Spokane in 2023 was stillborn. Nice in 2023 folded in July 2020 due to Covid-19. Memphis in 2023 filed its bid papers and was on the ballot, but withdrew in October 2021, after Winnipeg filed (their withdrawal was noted on the ballot).

Bidder Pre-Con Wednesday Thursday Friday Total
Chengdu in 2023 1950 7 19 30 2006
Winnipeg in '23 332 97 197 181 807
Memphis in 2023 2 1 3 1 7
None of the Above 2 1 3 1 7
Free Hong Kong 0 0 3 0 3
Taipei 0 0 2 0 2
Anywhere 1 0 0 0 1
Berlin 1 0 0 0 1
Boston in 2020 1 0 0 0 1
Fandom 0 0 0 1 1
House of the Rising Sun 0 0 1 0 1
Peggy Rae’s House 1 0 0 0 1
Schkeuditz 1 0 0 0 1
Slapout, OK 1 0 0 0 1
Your Mom's House 0 0 0 1 1
Total with Preference 2292 108 226 214 2838
No Preference 60 2 4 9 75
Total counted votes 2352 110 230 223 2915

Like much else at Discon III, the site selection process was fraught with controversy. Voting was very heavy with around 2000 mail ballots being received from China.

For unknown reasons, Discon 3 departed from the standard practice of publishing membership counts by state, province and country. Kevin Standlee, who was chair of the WSFS Business Meeting for Discon and a member of the Winnipeg in '23 bid, provided the numbers to File 770, providing a heads-up as to the high number of Chinese members while voting was still open, and was fired by both committees.

Of the ballots received, 1591 pre-con ballots contained only email addresses, not street addresses, but were still counted. These included 1586 for Chengdu and 5 for no preference. The Site Selection committee also reported that an additional 917 people paid for membership in the 2023 Worldcon (which entitled them to vote in site selection) but did not submit ballots.

The WSFS Constitution says:

4.4.1: Site-selection ballots shall include name, signature, address, and membership-number spaces to be filled in by the voter. 

WSFS neepery holds that the requirement that an address be included on the ballot exists for two reasons: To provide both the administering and newly-elected conventions a better chance of actually contacting the voters (who must be members of both conventions), and to make vote fraud more difficult by making it more likely that each ballot corresponds to a real person.

However, since the Constitution didn’t explicitly say whether or not the voter must fill in all the spaces or exactly what constitutes an “address,” the site selection committee asked the Business Meeting for guidance. (The WSFS Business Meeting has no direct authority over site selection. It sets the rules under which it operates via the WSFS Constitution and receives and approves the report of the site selection committee -- but no one knows for sure what would happen if it declined to accept the report! Nonetheless, the WSFS BM was the only body representing fandom which could be asked.)

File 770 reported that a motion signed by Winnipeg in '23 bid chair Terry Fong and vice-chair Jannie Shea was put forward saying

Resolved, That it is the sense of the WSFS Business Meeting that any Site Selection ballot that does not contain a Membership Number, Name, Signature, and Address that meets the country of origin’s requirements should be counted as “No Preference.”

After considerable debate, the nonbinding resolution passed 47-30. Had the resolution been followed, Winnipeg would have won.

The site selection committee ruled that the “improperly” filled out ballots would not be counted. As a final odd step in an generally odd situation, though, the chair of Discon 3 overruled site selection, the addressless ballots were counted, and Chengdu in 2023 declared the winner.

This was a no-win situation with either result likely to plunge all fandom into war.

2022 Worldcon Site Selection 2024 2023
This is page about convention bidding, the competition and its outcome. Please extend it by adding information about who was bidding, and how the race went.