In fact, we estimate that we have more than 1,000 eligible ballots this year, up nearly 25 percent over our inaugural readers’ choice contest last year. The ballot contains 115 categories.
While all ballots were not completely filled out, I estimate that more than 80,000 individual votes were cast in this year’s balloting process. That’s a testament to our readers and the business community.
Unfortunately, the pile of ineligible ballots also increased this year. At least 300 ballots will not be counted due to incomplete entry forms. We actually had several ballots submitted with no information on the entry form.
Additionally, some folks failed to include their phone numbers. We do spot check eligible ballots, and the only way to do that is to call the people who are listed on the entry form.
And, there were several groups of ballots that were obviously prepared by the same individual due to similarities in hand writing. These ballots are also not eligible.
But at the end of the day, we are counting several hundred more eligible ballots this year. We will contact area businesses in February that finished in the top three of each category.
And the winners will be announced in a special keepsake section to be published Thursday, Feb. 27. All first-place finishers that participate in the section with a “Thank You” ad will again receive a yard sign this year designating them as the “Best of the Best” in their respective category.
I want to take this time to thank our readers who submitted a ballot this year. All ballots that were at least 50 percent completed will be entered into a drawing for a 12-month subscription to the Daily Mountain Eagle. That drawing will be held this Friday, Jan. 31.
I also want to remind everyone that there are only four days left to subscribe and be entered into a drawing for a brand new 55-inch LG LED Smart TV valued at nearly $1,300. The television is sponsored by Handy TV.
Only new 3-month, 6-month or 12-month subscribers are eligible for the contest. A 3-month subscription costs $31.50. I estimate that new subscribers that qualify for the drawing will have a better than 1-in-100 chance of winning the television.
We must receive your pre-paid subscription by the close of business this Thursday to be included in the drawing Friday morning. The winner will be contacted Friday and may pick up the new television at Handy TV’s Jasper location just in time for the Super Bowl.
I will announce February’s exciting subscription contest next Sunday.
Jack McNeely is the publisher of the Daily Mountain Eagle and can be contacted by phone at 205-221-2840 or via email at email@example.com.