27th annual Best of Las Vegas poll

Readers, we hear you.

After years of torturing you with Best of Las Vegas ballots longer and more detailed than a federal tax return, we finally get the message: Enough already.

An excruciating 248 categories in 2007 — 14 more than our largest previous ballot — sent the response rate plummeting to nearly half of what it was in 2006. Something needed to be done, so here goes:

This year, our readers’ poll measuring the city’s best and brightest delights features 175 categories. Yes, that’s quite a few but the smallest number we’ve offered since 1993.

Plus, we don’t want to shock you. The most popular categories — Eat & Drink, Shopping, Hotels — continue to provide a smorgasbord of your favorite things. Most of our pruning comes from categories you seem less enthused about, such as Sports Spots.

And, calm down, snarky ones, the Best of the Worst awaits your poison pens.

While we’re making changes, it seems only natural to combine our newsprint and online polls for one seamless set of results you can keep for handy reference all year.

You are holding the paper ballot, which starts on Page 7. To find the online edition, go to www.reviewjournal.com/bestoflv.

Although this is a kinder, gentler ballot, it still has some bite. The rules remain. If you’re sending a paper ballot, it has to be an original; no copies of any kind will be accepted. Legible handwriting always is appreciated and improves your chances for a valuable prize (more on that later).

And we’re still appealing to your sense of fair play and humanity. Please don’t stuff the ballot box. Stuffed ballots will be scorned and discarded.

For the sneaky among you who think it will be easier to stuff the ballot online — and it may appear that way — rest assured that through some technical thingie we can’t begin to explain, you can’t. (Suffice to say, you can cast only one ballot per computer.) Ha.

As for those valuable prizes, a random drawing among balloteers who fill out their name, address and daytime phone number will take place for two tickets to see the Best All-Around Performer, two tickets to the Best Production Show, dinner for two at the Best Gourmet Restaurant in a hotel, dinner for two at the Best Gourmet Restaurant not at a hotel, lunch for two at the Best Place for a Power Lunch and a gift certificate to the Best Mall.

One super-duper fabulous prize of a night on the town — including dinner, a show and overnight stay at a local hotel — also will be drawn.

All ballots are due by 5 p.m. Jan. 28. Mail paper ballots (postmarked by Jan. 28) to Best of Las Vegas, Las Vegas Review-Journal, P.O. Box 70, Las Vegas, NV 89125-0070.

Results will be published March 23.

For those seeking a sneak peek at the results, the "Best of Las Vegas Awards Show" will be presented at 2 p.m. March 22 in the Zumanity Theatre at New York-New York. Further details will be announced later.

Contact Patricia Morgan at pmorgan@reviewjournal.com or (702) 383-0267.

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