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Everything You Need to Know About the CMA Awards Voting Process

2015 CMA Awards winners predictions
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Ever wondered why your favorite artist wasn’t front and center when the envelopes got opened at the CMA Awards? Of course you have — there’s always a difference of opinions when nominees, and then winners, are revealed each year at the annual awards show.

Lucky for our readers, The Boot has some intel on how the voting process, both to determine the year’s nominees and to crown each year’s winners, works. We consulted the Country Music Association’s official CMA Awards voting rules to explain.

Who Makes Up the Country Music Association?

The Country Music Association is a 7,500-plus-member affiliation of industry professionals from within 17 eligible categories: advertising / public relations / media, affiliated, artist, composer, entertainment services, international, marketing / digital, musician, personal manager, producer / engineer / studio, publisher / PRO, radio, record company, talent agent, talent buyer / promoter, touring personnel and venue. Those who work full-time in one of those categories and earn their income mostly from within the country music industry pay an annual membership fee if they wish to be part of the CMA.

Companies within the country music industry can also apply for CMA membership, though they are not eligible to vote for the CMA Awards.

Who Can Vote for the CMA Awards?

Only CMA members are allowed to take part in the three-ballot CMA Awards process. Each registered member of the CMA is issued a CMA member number and a PIN to certify their votes.

Who Is Eligible to Win at the CMA Awards?

Nominees in each of the 12 CMA Awards categories do not have to be CMA members themselves. Eligibility is determined based on the period of July 1 of the previous year through June 30 of the current year; in other words, for the 2017 CMA Awards, voters should be considering work done in the period of July 1, 2016-June 30, 2017.

However, in addition to those broad qualifications, there are certain, more-specific eligibility requirements for each of the 12 CMA Awards categories. The Country Music Association explains those in detail on their website.

How Does the CMA Awards Voting Process Work?

The CMA Awards voting process involves three rounds:

Round One: The first CMA Awards ballot is for nominations. CMA members are allowed to make one nomination per category, based on an artist’s work in the previous 12 months (that July 1-June 30 period); however, they are not required to make a nomination in every category.

In 2017, nominations were accepted from CMA members between July 10 and 20. The top 20 nominees in each category are automatically advanced to the second round of voting, with the exception of the Entertainer of the Year category. The Entertainer of the Year category only includes the Top 15 nominees, at most, and every nominee must have a minimum of 10 votes to advance.

Round Two: The next step in the CMA Awards voting process is the second ballot. During this round, members are allowed to vote for five of the whittled-down nominees in each category; once again, members do not have to vote in every category.

In 2017, this second round of voting will take place Aug. 14-24. The results are calculated by an independent accounting firm, Deloitte & Touche LLP. The top five nominees in each category will move on to the final round.

Round Three: The third and last step in the CMA Awards voting process is the final ballot. CMA members are allowed, once again, to vote for only one nominee in each category; once again, members are not required to vote in every category.

The third round of CMA Awards voting for the 2017 awards will take place Oct. 2-24. Once again, the results will be tabulated by Deloitte & Touche agents; those people will be the only individuals with knowledge of the results before the 2017 CMA Awards take place during a live-broadcast ceremony.

How Can I Find Out the Winners of the CMA Awards?

The 2017 CMA Awards are scheduled to take place Nov. 8. The event will air live from Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley will co-host the show for the 10th consecutive year.

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