History of Worldcon Site Selection

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Presently, members of the current Worldcon vote two years in advance to select the site of that Worldcon. So the 2017 Worldcon, Helsinki, selected Dublin to be the site of the 2019 Worldcon Dublin 2019 and the 2018 Worldcon, San Jose, selected CoNZealand as the site of the 2020 Worldcon.

In the very earliest days, nothing was organized. It didn't occur to the first Worldcon, Nycon, that anyone would do it again, so they did not select a successor, but fans enjoyed it enough so that later in 1939 at Philcon 1939, fans who were there decided to have a second Worldcon in Chicago — Chicon I.

Starting with Chicon I, all Worldcons have conducted a vote to select a successor. For may years (until {???}) the vote was held in person at the Business Meeting — there was no mail ballot of any sort. Bids were presented and the voting was done, usually taking no more than an hour. It was common for a fan to make a presentation with seconds by one or more prominent fans, and especially fannish pros. There was little or no bidding and it was not uncommon for a bid to be created in the hours before the vote.

At some point, voting by mail was added. {Need details.} At some point it became standard for voters to be required not only to be a member of the host convention, but also to purchase at least a supporting membership in the Worldcon being selected. (The idea being that site decisions should be reserved to the actual members.)

Bidding grew in elaboration from not much at all, to a party at the voting Worldcon to formal multi-year bids.

In 1969, site selection changed to two years in advance and the 1969 Worldcon (St. Louiscon selected both the 1970 and 1971 Worldcons. In 1986, site selection was moved to three years in advance and the 1986 Worldcon (ConFederation) selected both the 1988 and 1989 Worldcons.

Choosing a Worldcon three years in advance meant that committees had to stay organized for too long, and the extra year did not result in the hoped-for greater clout with hotels, so in 2005, site selection returned to 2 years and the 2005 Worldcon (Interthingy 2) did not select a site. (The 2004 Worldcon selected the 2007 Worldcon, 2005 selected nothing, and the 2006 Worldcon selected the 2008 Worldcon.)

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