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Mystery Solved: How Emmy Voting Works

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Right now about 70 to 80 Emmy judges are watching episodes of Breaking Bad, Mad Men and Homeland that were chosen by Bryan Cranston, Jon Hamm and Damian Lewis as examples of their best work from the past TV season. Once finished, judges will rank all six contenders for Best Drama Actor with scores ranging from 1 (the highest) to 6 and sign an affidavit attesting that they viewed everything required. Then they will mail their final ballots and affidavits to accountants at Ernst & Young by Aug. 31.

To determine a winner, the accountants will total up all scores and the contender in each category with the lowest tally will win. In case of a tie, the nominee with the most number-one votes prevails.

Voting is done by peer group. Only actors can vote for actors. It has been reported erroneously in the past that casting agents and directors may also vote in the acting races, but that's not true. Another common fallacy: Actors, rumor has it, are listed on the ballot alphabetically by TV show. Not so -- they are actually listed alphabetically by the person's last name. On the program ballots, TV show titles are listed alphabetically.

Voters may judge up to five categories: two program awards and three more races within their peer group. In the contests for Best Drama and Comedy Series, producers submit six sample TV episodes that are divided into three pairs that are distributed randomly to three groups of voters. Each group is comprised of about 300 members of the TV academy.

Click these links to see what TV episodes were submitted to judges in the races for comedy acting, comedy series, drama acting and drama series.

Below is the calendar of events that take place as part of this process.

Week of August 6
Creative Arts Awards: At-home judging DVDs mailed

Week of August 13
Telecast Awards: At-home judging DVDs mailed

August 24, 5:00 p.m.
Creative Arts Awards: Deadline for returning ballots

August 31, 5:00 p.m.
Telecast Awards: Deadline for returning ballots

September 15
Creative Arts Awards and Ball

September 23
ABC telecast and Governors Ball