What are the WRAL Voters’ Choice Awards?

The WRAL Voters’ Choice Awards (VCAs) are a celebration of the best local businesses, people and landmarks that make Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Fayetteville and surrounding areas of central North Carolina one of the most desired regions to live in the country. The awards started in 2015 and get thousands of votes from WRAL.com visitors each year.

How are Voters’ Choice Award winners determined?

WRAL.com visitors nominate their favorites in 140+ categories using our online ballot.

Nominations for 2023 will run from Sept. 12-Oct. 8. The five businesses that receive the most nominations in each category will advance to the voting phase. Voting will run from Oct. 16-Nov. 19. An internal committee meets to review your nominations and confirm finalists, and it reviews voting totals to confirm winners.

Why are there two rounds?

The nomination round provides the WRAL audience an opportunity to write in their favorite local businesses so that the finalists, and ultimately winners, truly reflect their favorites in our region (Voters’ Choice!). The voting round highlights some of the favorites in each category, which helps rally local business fans to come together to show their support.

How does the voting round work?

Each category will have five finalists max based on nominations, and visitors to wral.com/vcas can vote for one per category. Write-ins are not accepted during the voting round.

When does voting begin and end?

Voting starts mid October and ends mid November.

How many times can I vote for a business?

One vote per category per user. WRAL carefully monitors the ballot daily to ensure that votes are being cast in a fair manner. Someone from our team may reach out to business owners to make them aware if ballot stuffing is suspected. If votes continue to be made in an attempt to subvert the one-vote rule, businesses may be eliminated from the contest.

Do businesses have to pay to get on the ballot?

No, it’s free to participate. There are sponsorship options available to give your business more exposure, but purchasing advertising does not guarantee any business to be named a finalist or win.

If you are a finalist and are interested in getting your business’ logo, description and links on the ballot, you can request sponsorship information. If you’re not a finalist, you can still sponsor a category (i.e. Pizza) or group (i.e. Food & Drink) to drive awareness.

Do WRAL advertisers automatically win?

No. WRAL Voters’ Choice Awards results are based on votes cast by website visitors. Some winners may be advertisers, but that does not guarantee a win.

What happened to a category from last year? Can you add a new category?

Each year, we review your input on categories and the results of the previous ballot to determine the categories for the next ballot. As a result, some categories are renamed, expanded or retired. We publicly announce the categories for the forthcoming ballot in June, and once nominations open in September, we cannot add new ones.

I’m a finalist! How can I promote my business to get votes?

Congratulations! Promotional graphics will be available closer to the nomination and voting periods. You will be able to sign up here to access once available. Sign up here.

Many finalists use their social media channels, email newsletter, website and displays inside brick & mortar locations to let their patrons know they are a finalist and how to participate.

We suggest sharing weekly throughout the voting period as a reminder. Be sure to use #WRALvcas on social media. We love seeing your creative posts!

How do I know my nominations/votes were received?

Once you click the “NOMINATE” or “VOTE” button and enter your email address, your choice is recorded. No further action is needed.

Why do I have to register?

Our ballot requires that users create an account to track your selections. This helps us keep the contest fair and helps prevent fraudulent voting. It allows you to revisit your ballot before deadline to make changes and additional nominations.

I’m having trouble registering. Help!

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 suggest trying a different browser or device.

Can I come back later to complete the ballot?

Yes, as long as you’ve already registered, 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’ve already registered in that round, click the “Already voted in this round” link for more info.

Can I complete the ballot on another device?

Yes. When you return to the ballot on a different device, click the “Already voted in this round” link for more info.

How do I find out who the winners are?

Winners will be announced in January.