1981 Site Selection Results

Site Selection for the 1981 Worldcon was held at Seacon 79, the 1979 Worldcon held in Brighton, UK. It is unclear if Seacon 79 ever published minutes of the WSFS Business Meeting with full site selection totals, but some numbers do exist.

The bidders were Denver in '81, LA in '81 and Seattle in 1981. (There were also Tillamook in 1981 and Hawaii in 1981 hoax bids.) Denver won, and went on to run Denvention Two.

The results were:

Mail At Con 1st Totals Final Total
Denver in '81 275 174 449 453
Seattle in 1981 172 148 320 320
LA in '81 85 44 129 130
No Preference 16 6 22
Total valid ballots 548 372 920 903
Needed to win 460 452
Unpaid/Invalid ballots 53 2

Denver fell just a bit short of winning on the first round. The committee reported that on the second round, the No Preference ballots were redistributed to their second place choices (when they existed) adding 4 votes for Denver, giving Denver a bare majority and the win.

This seems very odd, since ballots marked #1 for No Preference do not normally have a preference between the bidders. (Kinda what "no preference" means…) A second anomaly is that there are none of the usual votes for hoax bids. It is possible that the counting committee considered them to be invalid votes, but it's also possible that they considered them to be voting "no preference". And it's common for voters to list a hoax bid #1 and their real choice #2.

Regardless, (a) we'll never know and (b) it doesn't matter anyway since Denver won by such a large margin.

The Seattle in 1981 bid committee reportedly had about 20 hand-carried votes which were not counted. (No idea why.) Had they been counted, this would not have affected the final result, but would have forced one more elimination round during vote counting.

One last anomaly: 53 is a very large number of invalid mail ballots. (There were actually 63, but ten of them were made good at con — presumably payment was provided — and thus counted.)