If you've been following the 2016 Military Spouse of the Year process either here at SpouseBuzz or over on Military Spouse Magazine, you've already had the chance to nominate your favorite military spouse for the award and participate in a internet population vote to whittle the nominees down to one winner per base, area or region.
Since then the judge panel has done some work and chosen 18 finalists that were announced earlier this week. Now is your chance to weigh in on who should have the chance to move to the final six -- one spouse for each Defense Department service, the Coast Guard and the National Guard -- and have a shot at ultimately becoming Military Spouse of the Year.
So here's what I need you to do. Go on over here and vote. The poll is open today only -- so if you miss this, you're going to have to wait to vote in the next round in early March for the final winner.
What happens between now and then? A judge panel assembled by Military Spouse Magazine will take a look at the winners of the popularity vote and hold a vote themselves that takes the popularity vote into consideration.
The neat thing about the way the awards work these days is that they are not only based on who runs the best internet campaign for themselves. The idea that the person who makes the most viral "vote for me" memes could be the ultimate winner bothers me. But that's not how it works. A team of people who understand the spouse world and don't have a dog in the fight also help to make sure we get a great set of spouses up there representing us, while still giving voters a chance to weigh in and the candidates a shot at advocating for themselves.
So what are you waiting for? VOTE.