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Who votes for the Grammys and how: Learn about the Grammy Awards voting process ahead of the 61st ceremony

Last year, the Recording Academy began using online voting to increase flexibility for working music professionals. 

Roisin O'Connor
Music Correspondent
Thursday 07 February 2019 12:00 GMT
Celebrities and music stars on the red carpet at the 60th Grammy Awards

A shakeup of the 2018 Grammy voting process saw one of the most diverse set of nominations in the award's history.

Jay Z received eight nods while Kendrick Lamar followed closely with seven. This year's awards saw the first time in 20 years that a white male artist was not nominated for the Album of the Year category.

John Legend explained in 2017, in an interview with The Independent, how the Grammy Awards previously used a postal vote for the nominations, something he noted was problematic when you consider how many young or current artists are away on tour and can potentially miss out on their chance to vote.

Later that same year the Recording Academy announced a transition to online voting, explaining how it would provide increased flexibility to working music professionals. The same system will be used for the 2019 awards.

Here's how the system works:

Voting can also be done via handheld devices, not just desktop/laptops, and allows touring musicians to access ballots more easily.

An FAQ on the Grammys website explains that no invalid or incomplete ballots can be accepted online, meaning no ballots were disqualified due to user error. The entire voting process is online, not just the ballot: nominated recordings are made available to review within the online voting platform for the final round.

The Academy's IT professionals and auditors ensure the online balloting system is secure by creating a safe yet easy-to-work system which requires two-factor authentication.

Who votes?

The Recording Academy's voting membership is comprised solely of music creators, including artists, engineers, producers and songwriters. Voting Members are automatically qualified to vote online during each of the two balloting periods.

What do they vote for?

Eligible voting members can vote in the four General Field categories (Album Of The Year, Record Of The Year, Song Of The Year, and Best New Artist) and up to 15 additional award categories, based on their areas and genres of expertise.

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Voters are instructed to only vote in the categories where they are most knowledgeable and qualified. The online system lets the person voting know which of the 15 eligible categories they have used as they move through the application, and will automatically block them from placing votes in too many categories.

When does online voting begin?

First-round ballots were made available on 16 October 2017 via the Recording Academy's official membership portal. The first-round ballot closed on 29 October. Final-round voting began on 13 December and ended on 9 January.

Can an artist vote if they're nominated for one of the category awards?

Yes. Recording Academy Voting Members are eligible to vote in any Awards cycle, including ones in which they have recordings entered.

Key dates:

Oct 1 2017: Sept. 30, 2018 Product Eligibility Period

July 2-16 2018: First-Round Online Entry Process Access Period

July 31 2018 Last Day To Become A Member To Access The Online Entry Process

Aug 8-22 2018 Final-Round Online Entry Process Access Period

Sept 15 2018: Last Day To Become A Member To Vote In First Round

Oct 17-31 2018: First-Round Voting

Dec 5 2018: Nominations Announcement

Dec 13 2018: Jan. 9, 2019 Final-Round Voting

Feb 10 2019: 61st Annual GRAMMY Awards Telecast

The results are not known until the actual ceremony, when the names of the winners are delivered by Delotte in sealed envelopes.

The 61st Grammy Awards take place on 10 February

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