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Resolve to Vote

Are your New Year’s resolutions already starting to wear thin even though you’re not? Then welcome a new fresh start by participating in the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s annual Best of Las Vegas poll.

Don’t always settle for the same old picks. Use the ballot as a springboard to try new places — and then tell us about them. This whole voting thing can be fun if you let it. And this first of three series of ballots is the easiest because it emphasizes food and we all gotta eat.

The poll will work just like last year. You can fill out the ballot on Pages 8 and 9 in this section and return it to us, or you can fill out a paper ballot when it repeats in the Review-Journal on Monday and Thursday.

If writing on a paper ballot is not your thing, you can respond in an online ballot at www.lvrj.com/bestoflv.

The deadline for all of the first ballots is 5 p.m. Jan. 18.

The second series of ballots — featuring Best Hotels and Best Entertainment — will appear on Jan. 17, 18 and 21, with a final deadline of 5 p.m. Jan. 25. (The online ballot will run from Jan. 17 to 25.)

The last series of ballots — featuring Best Shopping, Best Sports Spots, Best People and Best of the Worst — will be published Jan. 24, 25 and 28, with a final final deadline of 5 p.m. Feb. 1. (It will be online from Jan. 24 through Feb. 1.)

On paper or online, you can vote in each category only once. That means a total of three ballots over three weeks to complete the entire poll. We at Best of Las Vegas Central prefer to stuff our faces — preferably with chocolate — not the ballot box. And while we are hardly scientific, we have been doing this for 29 years and have absolutely no patience with stuffers (read: into the trash they go).

Because we are making the ballot almost ridiculously accessible, there is no reason to make a photocopy and we will not accept them. On behalf of our ballot counters, we ask those of you with pen and paper to write legibly to ensure each and every one of your painstaking votes is counted.

Anyway, as we were saying before getting bogged down in math and logistics — two of our least favorite subjects, drat, there we go using numbers again — this opening section boasts Best Eat and Drink (not in hotels, however; those come later and, no, this really isn’t more difficult than nuclear fusion, whatever that is) and Best Locations.

Eat and Drink features 34 categories, including the popular hamburger, pizza, deli and Chinese restaurant. Of special interest will be the Best New Restaurant that opened in 2009. Anyone who could make a go of it during the past year deserves to be honored (we might even want to ask them for stock tips). In a related note, many will probably be watching for the Best Place for a Power Lunch, because that might be an ideal spot to hang out with resumes in hand.

Locations is back with 17 decisions to make, including Best Museum, Best Nevada Getaway and one of our personal favorites, Best Place to Avoid Tourists (not that we want them to stop coming, mind you, just not around us in particular).

You can mail your ballots to Best of Las Vegas, Las Vegas Review-Journal, P.O. Box 70, Las Vegas, NV 89125 or go online at www.lvrj.com/bestoflv.

If the sheer fun of this is not enough, and that is hard for us to fathom, there are delectable prizes. The key is to sign your name, address and phone number — ever so legibly in the case of paper balloteers — for a random drawing.

Prizes include: two tickets to see the Best All-Around Performer; two tickets for the Best Show; dinner for two at the Best Gourmet Restaurant in a hotel; dinner for two in the Best Gourmet Restaurant not in a hotel; lunch for two at the Best Place for a Power Lunch; a gift certificate to the Best Mall; and a grand prize of a night on the town, including dinner, a show and an overnight stay at a local hotel.

Results of the Best of Las Vegas poll will appear in the Review-Journal and its Web site on March 28.

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