From the Shortlist to the Ballot

Every year since 1986, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nominating Committee has waded through the names of hundreds of artists in search of the elite few that will be voted on for induction. By counting the artists who have been inducted in the "Performer" category, and the artists who have been previously considered but not inducted, the Committee has narrowed down the history of rock and roll to essentially 300 names. Roughly half of those artists (154) are now in the Hall of Fame. But out of the other 146 names the Committee has discussed, only 31 have made it to the final ballot to be voted on by the 500+ member Voting Commitee. (Unsurprisingly, three of those 31 are up for induction again in 2008 -- Mellencamp, Chic, and the DC5.)

The Nominating Committee has gradually become more and more controlling over the process -- up through 2005, there would routinely be 15 or 16 names on the final ballot, but it was reduced it to just nine artists last year. The Voting Committee now has fewer names to consider, and they're often ones they have seen many times before. It's likely there are many voters who would love the chance to decide between Alice Cooper and Tom Waits; The Monkees and Devo; or Genesis and Roxy Music, but they haven't been given that opportunity due to the more restricted ballot.

Why not give the voters more choice? After all, the Voting Committee has succeeded in rejecting only 31 names in 22 years. They should be given the chance to reject many more.

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