Every year we have a lot of questions regarding our competition. Here are answers to some of the most common ones:

When is it? Voting begins June 28, 2023 and ends July 23, 2023.

How did these businesses end up on the ballot? Nominations were collected through a write-in phase in the FIRST part of the campaign. From May 24 – June 14, readers had the chance to nominate their favorite local businesses and organizations.

The 8 businesses that got the most nominations in each category advance to the SECOND part of the campaign – the Final Voting Phase!

Why are there two rounds? Having the nomination round gives more businesses an opportunity to take advantage of the audience that Best of the Pines brings.

How does the voting round work? Voting is multiple choice only. There are no write-ins accepted for the Final Voting Phase.

How can I promote my business to get more votes? See our Best of the Pines voting toolkit with flyers, graphics and marketing tips to help you spread the word. **These will be available once voting goes live.**

Why do I have to share my email in order to vote? Our ballot software requires that users create an account to track your selections. This helps us guard against fraudulent voting and allows you to revisit your ballot before deadline to make changes and additional nominations. Don’t worry, there is no password needed.

Where is the “submit” button? How do I know my votes counted? There is no final “submit” button. Once you click the “VOTE” button and enter your email address, your choice is recorded. No further action is needed.

I’m having trouble with the ballot. What do I do? When you start voting in the first category of your choice, you will be asked to fill out the registration form. When you complete this step, you will be registered and you can continue casting your votes on the ballot.

If you have trouble with that process, we would suggest trying a different browser or device.

I don’t have time to fill out the whole ballot right now. Can I come back later and do more? Sure! As long as you’ve already registered in that round and it’s before the deadline, you can pick up where you left off. When you return to the ballot on the same device, you should be automatically logged in and able to see your previous selections. If you aren’t logged in and you know that you’ve already registered in that round, click the “Already participated in this round…” link for further instructions.

Can I start the voting process on one device (such as my phone) and do more later on another device (such as my computer)? Yes. When you return to the ballot on a different device, click the “Already participated in this round…” link for further instructions.

What happened to that one category from last year? You sent us hundreds of notes during and after last year’s Best of the Pines, and we emailed a survey earlier in 2023 to ask for category suggestions. We used that feedback to create this year’s ballot. Some categories have been expanded, others have been tweaked for clarity, and a couple were put on the shelf. These changes refresh the ballot so it’s not the exact same, year after year. We did our best to consider the impact of these changes, but we’d like to hear from you if you have comments or suggestions for the 2024 ballot. Please email those messages to bestofthepines@thepilot.com.

Do I have to advertise in the magazine to be nominated/win? No. No purchase is required to participate in the competition or to win the competition. We are not shy in telling you that advertising in our magazine helps because it is the best way to remind the voters about your business and what category you’d like to be considered for – much like political candidates advertise to get their name out to the public.

Also, we would not be able to do this competition every year without our advertisers. It costs a lot of time and money to do a competition like this and selling advertisements helps compensate us for the costs.

What are the rules? Voting is limited to one account, per person, per category. If votes cast do not follow the guidelines, they may be deemed invalid and may result in the disqualification of votes by that device or email address. The purchase of advertising in The Pilot products does not affect the out of the Best of the Pines results. Votes are counted and audited by an independent third party.

Why don’t you have a category for _______? We get this question a lot. As much as we’d like to have a category so every single business in Moore County could participate, we simply don’t have the manpower to do it. We try to keep the category count below 200 in order to make it manageable.

We selected categories based on what categories were popular last year. We also did a reader’s poll on what people felt we should add. 

Any restrictions on voting? Voters must use their own email address when registering to vote. Email addresses must be valid. The system we are using has a complex system to help eliminate potential voter fraud. Any votes that trigger the system are reviewed. Votes that cannot be verified or show signs that they may be fraudulent are eliminated.

What about paper ballots? The short answer: it’s 2023. But because our online platform has numerous security features that help prevent voter fraud, we’re sticking with this option.

Any restrictions on who can win? Any business or individual who does not provide a good representation of The Pilot LLC or the competition may be determined to be ineligible and eliminated from the competition at any time. We reserve the right to remove businesses from the ballot if they owe us a large amount of money for a significant amount of time. Also, any business that has demonstrated an unwillingness to follow the rules of the competition may be eliminated.

Are businesses allowed to use customer emails to vote for themselves? NO. The ballot platform we use is well-versed in identifying and eliminating many of the ways companies attempt to commit voter fraud. They’ve even implemented new features this year to further identify and mitigate potential fraud. We are confident that this platform ensures we have the most honest and valid competition we can.

Is there a 10 category minimum? No. However, nominations from email addresses that only nominate in one category may be flagged as fraudulent because our software thinks they look fake. To be clear, nothing is automatically disqualified; however, email addresses with just one vote may be subject to investigation. We encourage everyone to engage with as many categories as possible across the ballot.

How do I found out who the winners are? Winners will be announced in a special magazine in The Pilot newspaper on Sunday, September 18. Subscribe now to get the Best of the Pines magazine – and The Pilot newspaper – delivered right to your door.

Who is your artist? Miranda Glyder is a graphic designer currently based in Moore County. We’re thrilled to have her artwork representing our campaign this year!