The 53rd annual Academy of Country Music Awards are coming up on April 15, 2018, and if you're wondering how the voting process for the ACM Awards works, The Boot has got you covered. From eligibility dates to membership guidelines, to who decides the winners (and losers) of the ACM Awards, it's all right here.

In 2018, the ACM has switched up both the eligibility period and voting timeline for the ACM Awards, to aid in implementing changes that will take effect for the 2019 ACM Awards. For the 2018 ACM Awards only, submission eligibility dates are Nov. 24, 2016-Dec. 31, 2017 -- a longer period of time than usual so that, in 2019, the new eligibility period of Jan. 1 - Dec. 31 can be put in place.

Read on to learn all of the important details about ACM Awards voting.

Who Makes Up the Academy of Country Music?

Academy of Country Music members make their living in the country music industry. To be eligible for membership with the ACM, according to the ACM website, applicants must "derive a significant amount of their income directly from country music; however, admission to membership is subject to the complete discretion of the ACM Board of Directors." The all-star membership roster includes artists, songwriters, producers, radio personalities and many more.

Who Can Vote for the ACM Awards?

The ACM Awards are voted on by members of the Academy of Country Music. All professional members of the ACM are allowed to vote once for each category during each ballot round. Votes are non-retractable and unchangeable once submitted.

Who Is Eligible to Win at the ACM Awards?

Eligibility varies slightly from one ACM Awards category to another based on airplay, chart placement, number of albums sold and more criteria. Songs and / or artists must have met these criteria during the eligibility period noted above.

Previously, the ACM used the Billboard Country Airplay chart to determine eligibility for certain awards, but they now use Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart, as this chart takes into consideration not only airplay, but also streaming and sales. The ACM will continue to use airplay metrics from Country Aircheck’s Mediabase chart as well.

The ACM decided to shift its eligibility calendar to the regular calendar year for two reasons, according to ACM Vice President of Awards & Membership, Nick Di Fruscia: firstly, because voting systems (i.e., old-school mailed-in votes) are no longer as time-consuming as in the past, and secondly, because the shift will align better with artists' release cycles.

How Does the ACM Awards Voting Process Work?

ACM Awards voting involves three ballot rounds. In 2018, the first ballot round will take place Jan. 22-31, the second round will run Feb. 12-21, and the final round will last March 7-14.

During the first round of ACM Awards voting, the ACM's professional membership will submit one nomination in each of the award's shows 11 categories; specialized categories for songwriting, etc., are narrowed down by a panel of professionals in the category before moving on to the main voting process. In the 11 categories voted on by ACM members, the top 20 vote-getters will go before a review committee to ensure they meet all eligibility criteria, which are detailed on the ACM website. Additionally, to advance to the next round, those top 20 vote-getters must also have achieved a minimum of 2 percent of the vote within their respective category.

In the second round, each voting ACM member may cast up to two votes in each category. The five nominees receiving the most votes in each category will be placed on the third ballot for the final round. If there are fewer than five eligible nominees in any given category, the ACM's board may elect to allow the category to proceed to the final round with fewer than five, but no fewer than three, nominees.

In the final round, each voting ACM member will cast only one vote in each category. The nominee receiving the most votes in each category will be deemed the winner. In the case of a tie, all winners will receive an award.

How Can I Find Out the Winners of the ACM Awards?

The winners of the 53rd annual ACM Awards will be announced during the 2018 ACM Awards ceremony, which will take place at MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 15, 2018. The show will air live on CBS.

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