Voting Life Cycle

A brief overview of the different stages in the voting process

Written by George Reese

Last published at: October 29th, 2022

Both audience choice and juried awards follow the same life cycle. This article briefly outlines each step of the process and how you get from the creation of an award to announcing a winner.


When you create a new award, it starts in the “Nominating” state. During this initial phase, the person managing the voting process has the following tasks:

  • Upload the nomination and winner laurels
  • Define the voting rules
  • Select the proper nomination rules
  • (optional, juried) receive nomination recommendations from other juries
  • Make the official nominations
  • (juried) Divide the nominees into finalists and runners-up 
  • (juried) Invite in members of your jury

Once you have completed these tasks, you can start the judging by clicking the “Start Judging” button on the “Basic Info” tab. Remember to hit “Save”.


Festival staff have little to do during the judging phase unless a member of a jury has a question. The primary task for festival staff is to publicize the nominees on the “Nomination Rules” tab if making the nominees public is desirable.

For audience choice awards, the audience will be watching selections and making their picks. At the same time, jury members for juried awards will be reviewing all the nominees and voting in accordance with the voting rules your team established when they configured the award.

Audience choice voting ends automatically at the judging deadline time.  Juried awards are tabulated under one of the following scenarios:

  1. Enough judges have finalized their votes that a winner is evident in accordance with the voting rules.
  2. All judges have finalized their votes and there is a deadlock.
  3. The judging deadline has passed and the system will tabulate a winner from the votes cast, whether finalized or not.

The tabulation of votes will result in one of two outcomes:

  1. There is a winner based on the voting rules.
  2. No selection has met the criteria to be declared a winner

In the former scenario, the system enters the “Approving” state. In the latter, it enters the Tiebreaking state.


A category in the Tiebreaking state must have a tiebreaker judge break the deadlock. There are two ways to approach breaking a tie.

  1. The staff in charge of voting selects a winner from the leading candidates.
  2. A “tie breaker judge” selects a winner from the leading candidates.

Either way, the decision of the tiebreaker determines the winner and the category enters the “Approving” state.


The “Approving” state is where festival staff reviews the winner of a category and ensures no gross miscarriage of justice has occurred. Festival staff now have the option of overriding or approving the winner.

Either way, the result of this phase is a final winner.


Now that the award is approved, you are ready to announce your winners. We have no automated system for making the winners public because awards ceremonies have been known to run late. Thus, once you have announced a winner for the category, a member of the festival staff should go back into the Staff Portal and making the winners public on the “Nomination Rules” tab.

Different themes will highlight winners differently, but once the winner is made public, the award will show on their selection page and they will have access to the winner laurel.