Let the race begin!
It’s time again for Lethbridge residents to cast their votes for their favourite businesses and services, along with several fun categories, in the annual Best of the Best survey.
Voting gets underway Jan. 4 and continues until Jan. 31 in the reader-driven survey conducted by the Lethbridge Sun Times/Shopper. This year, readers will have a revamped website to help them navigate the more than 120 categories, which include a number of new categories as well as others that have been streamlined. Some of the streamlining involves dining establishments to further narrow the categories to choices such as Best Fish and Chips, Best East Indian Cuisine, Best Frozen Dessert and Best Food Truck.
“In dining alone, there’s 27 categories,” says Brian Hancock, director of sales for the Sun Times/Shopper.
The survey is divided into 10 main categories — Automotive, Dining, Electronics, Health, Home Decor, Pets, Retail, Services, Sports and Things to Do — with a number of sub-categories within those.
“It’s very user-friendly,” Hancock says of the new website which was designed “to help people get to where they want to be quicker.”
Not all the categories are aimed at singling out businesses. One of the new things people can vote for is “Best Concert,” giving them an opportunity to highlight what they felt was the best local concert of 2017. Another new addition is “Best Annual Charity Event.”
Now running for more than 20 years, the Best of the Best survey has come a long way from its humble beginnings when organizers hand-counted the roughly 400 hand-written ballots which featured about 20 categories. Through the years, reader requests have expanded the category list more than six-fold, and the number of voters has grown exponentially, too. In recent years, the voting has been done electronically, with the contest receiving in excess of 100,000 votes annually.
“It’s just amazing,” Hancock says of the survey’s growth. “We run it but the people of Lethbridge have taken ownership of it. We just steer the boat. They do the rowing.”
Organizers continue to work to ensure the voting is accurate, and the new electronic system features the latest high-tech safeguards to protect against attempts to manipulate the results.
“We want the results to be as clean and untainted as possible,” says Hancock. “A better system makes the outcome much more accurate.”
People are permitted to cast one vote per category per 24-hour period from an email address for the duration of the voting. Voting can be done from the website http://www.mybestofthebest.ca.