With a week of voting in the books, Best Of Lawrence 2011 topped 2,000 ballots (we're at 2,340 as of 10:40 a.m. Monday) with much to be decided when voting closes Feb. 14.
As we did last week, let's take another look at a few observations from voting thus far.
With two more weeks of voting, we're eager to see just how much more Lawrence can get out the vote. While we're pleased with the turnout we've received, we know there's potential for much more. Help us get out the vote by telling friends, family and co-workers to vote if they haven't already. And while we do have 2,340 ballots completed, we still have 551 incomplete ballots. This could be a result of readers not completing the final question on the ballot, a required one, that asks them to provide an email address. We do this to validate our ballots and, as promised before, we will not spam you. There are 2,340 voters that can vouch for us.
Now an update from our election center. The Dusty Bookshelf (28.3 percent, 707 votes) is fending off Borders (22.1, 551) for the best bookstore nod but The Raven and Half Price Books (each with 397 votes, or 15.9 percent) are still close enough to pull an upset.
While Eighth Street Tap Room maintains a steady lead on Best Place To Dance with 17.9 percent (360 votes), The Replay Lounge, Jazzhaus, The Cave and Abe & Jakes all remain very much in the conversation, each netting double-digit percentages of the vote.
Our tightest contest remains Best Store Cat. Sunflower Outdoor & Bike's Stanley has wrestled the lead away from the cats at Love Garden Sounds. But it's still a three-way race destined to go to the wire: Stanley has 28.2 percent of the vote with Alice from The Dusty Bookshelf in second with 25 percent and Love Garden's cats in third with 23 percent. No lead is safe in this category. It's 631 to 559 to 514 in votes so far for each candidate.
Silas & Maddy's holds just a 2.1 percent lead on Wheatfields Bakery for Best Dessert or Pastry.
The Green Room Salon leads Best Hair Cut by just a...well, you know. Green Room has just a 0.9 percent lead on Downtown Barbershop.
And the jury's still out on Best Date: Pachamama's out front just slightly ahead of Liberty Hall, 715 and Tellers.
We love your feedback. This contest was rooted in community involvement. From its announcement in November right up to the eve of voting, we sought your ideas for categories and candidates. The comments keep pouring in and, though this year's contest is already in place, your thoughts will continue to help us for future contests. To address a few comments, if you don't see your favorite candidate in a given category, there is a space in each category to write in your selection. We also noticed a few comments asking why certain categories were not included. This underscores the importance of getting involved in the weeks leading up to the contest. A good example is our Best Gluten Free Option category. This was a category powered by Twitter. Gluten Free Lawrence, or @gflawrence on Twitter, campaigned for a gluten free category when we first started accepting feedback in November.
Thanks for all your participation so far. Keep getting out the vote so that we can be up to our necks in ballots by Valentine's Day. And keep shooting us feedback so we can be thinking of how we can make Best Of Lawrence 2012 even better.