I was asked elsewhere whether there was any substantial change to the Dragon Award rules. I don’t believe so but so much of it is boiler plate aimed at protecting Dragon Con from anything that it is hard to tell. An Wayback Machine archive of the rules from 2018 is here: https://web.archive.org/web/20180722193700/http://application.dragoncon.org/dragon_awards_terms_conditions.php
The two bits of most interest haven’t changed other that dates:
“ONLINE VOTING: One (1) vote in each category is allowed per person. The most popular Entries, as determined by number of nomination submissions during the Nomination Period, will be featured on the Website between 9:00 A.M. ET on August 1, 2018 and 11:59 P.M. ET on August 31, 2018 (hereinafter, “Voting Period”). Voting shall occur in a manner as determined by DRAGON CON.
No automatic, programmed, robotic or similar means of voting are permitted. Participants who do not comply with these Rules, or who attempt to interfere with the voting process or the operation of the Website in any way will be disqualified and their votes will not be counted. DRAGON CON reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify, or suspend voting should any virus, bug, non-authorized human intervention, fraud or other causes beyond its control corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness or proper conduct of the voting process. All decisions regarding the voting process or acceptance of votes shall be final and shall not be subject to challenge or appeal.
SELECTION OF WINNERS: All decisions regarding the voting process and selection of winners shall be made by DRAGON CON in its sole discretion, shall be final, and shall not be subject to challenge or appeal”
There is a commitment to count nominations and use that to identify finalists and zero commitment to count votes in the second stage of voting. This has always been the case.
The other thing that hasn’t changed is the reference to ‘sweepstakes’:
A sweepstakes has randomly chosen winners. Which sounds at odds with the Dragon Awards but it’s even weirder than that. The term here is applying to the people nominating or voting, not the works in the contest.
So no particular news here other than the WTF aspect hasn’t changed.