Voting for the Hugos isn’t just a matter of checking of the box of your favorite candidate. It’s much more sophisticated than that. A voter arranges the nominees (and the alternative “No Award”) in order from “candidate I like best” to “candidate I like least.” People don’t have to list every nominee; leaving some of them off is more or less the same as putting “No Award” in that slot, although a voter can put “No Award” early on the list but still put nominees below that, which is a way of saying “I don’t think anybody below this point really ought to get the Hugo, but if you’re going to go ahead and give one out anyway, then here’s my choices from better to worse.” (If I’m interpreting the results correctly, I did get at least one vote from somebody who put me below “No Award.”)
So when they totaled up all the votes, I was the top choice of 106 of the 514 people who voted in this category. 54 people picked “No Award” as their first choice (which I believe means they did have to specifically select that, but probably means they were just saying “I don’t know any of these people.”) Of the nominees, Taral received the fewest, also with 54 votes. The rules say to take the nominee with the fewest votes off the list, and look at those voter’s second choice. As the arrows show, I was the second choice for seven of them, Brad collected 13 of them, Sue picked up 6, and Steve got 10.
Unfortunately, although Steve picked up more of Taral’s voters than Sue did, it wasn’t enough more to make up the lead she had from the first round, so he was the next to be eliminated. Everybody but me on this list is an illustrator/cartoonist, and when Steve’s votes were redistributed, the vast majority went to one of the two remaining cartoonists. If nobody from that group had listed me next, then Sue would have beaten me at this stage, but the 9 votes I got here let me sneak past her gain of 23 to remain “not last.”
So then Sue’s voter’s votes were redistributed. Again, relatively few of them fell to me. In the group of 49 votes that Brad received at this point, it’s likely that at least some of them had placed me next on their list: “Dave’s good, but Brad’s better.” It could be that some voters thought one work, however good, didn’t compare to the dozens or hundreds of pieces that the other nominees had done, or that they just didn’t think what I’d done warranted a Hugo. I suspect, however, that most of the 45 people who voted “No Award” rather than for either Brad or I simply didn’t have a clue who I was, and didn’t follow the link in the voter’s packet to the web site that provided information about the base.
Interestingly, in 2009, Brad received only 69 votes, and came in 4th, behind Taral Wayne, Sue Mason, and winner Frank Wu. When Frank accepted his Hugo, he said he would not accept a nomination for 2010. If he hadn't done that, I might have come in 3rd. On the other hand, while Frank was making his acceptance speech in '09, at one point he glanced down and stopped in the middle of a sentence to declare "This thing is fucking beautiful!" Derailing Frank's train of thought during his speech counts as my second favoritest compliment, behind only the 2010 nomination itself.