I was about to say something like that. The people who get to vote on the Nominations for the Hugo, and the Hugo itself, are anyone who pays $40 for a year's Associate Membership (which sfaik does not include attending the WorldCon convention or get them anything except those voting rights and free copies of some of the nominated works).
Sort of wrong, and wrong, and also not necessarily. There is no such thing as an "Associate Membership." The term is "Supporting Membership." This is partly because such memberships are often a result of either supporting a Worldcon bid before it is selected to be a Worldcon, or from participating in the site selection process itself, which is in part a fundraiser to support said Worldcon.
A Supporting Membership, by WSFS rules, carries with it voting rights (for the Hugo and Campbell Awards, as well as site selection for the Worldcon two years hence), the right to submit business to (but not vote in, because they do not Attend) the WSFS Business meeting, the right to receive Worldcon publications such as progress reports, program books, souvenir books, and newsletters (in recent years rules are shifting as to whether those are printed or delivered electronically), and the right to nominate for the Hugo Awards for both this year and next year. If you buy your membership early enough, you also get the right to nominate for the Hugo Awards the year before the Worldcon of which you are a member.
In recent years, the Worldcon has generally taken the effort to provide a "nominees packet" for prospective Hugo Award voters. This is by no means a guaranteed benefit of having a membership, and the inclusion of specific works in that packet is not under the control of the concom -- the publishers or other producers of those works have to choose to participate in giving a copy to voting members.
The group of people *allowed* to vote for the Hugo Awards includes all the members of the current Worldcon, including both Supporting and Attending members.
The group of people who are allowed to *nominate* works for the Hugo award (and boy howdy do I HATE the use of the term "vote" for the act of *nominating* something to the ballot) is, as mentioned above, all members of the current, previous, and next Worldcon.
The group of people who *get* to nominate is some subset of that group, including those who a) realize they have that power; b) figure out the process; c) choose to do so (which includes developing opinions on works from the eligible year) and d) find the time during the nominations window to fill out and turn in a nominating ballot.There is a power elite (SMOFs) who control the rules for the elections -- and are posting about how to change the rules to prevent future Puppy slates.
Wrong again. The group of people who are allowed to change the rules for the Hugo awards is
in no way different from the group allowed to vote
[whoops, I was wrong about this -- please see this post
for info on this] -- all Attending
members of the Worldcon are full voting members of WSFS (the World Science Fiction Society) which includes making changes to the Hugo Rules or any other part of the WSFS constitution and other business brought to the WSFS business meeting, held annually during the Worldcon.
SMOF is a general term (Secret Masters Of Fandom) for all fans who participate in running fannish conventions (and perhaps also clubs) of any stripe, so long as they are fannish (which generally means not-for-profit/volunteer-run, in this context). There are plenty of (thousands of) SMOFs who do not attend Worldcon and know nothing more about the Hugo Rules or how to change them than the average fan. There are also plenty of SMOFs discussing the rules this year who are not members of the worldcon and will not (and may never) do anything to change the rules. It currently takes two years to actually change the rules, so two years of members have the potential to control or influence that process. A very small percentage of Worldcon attendees actually attend the business meeting and participate, but any attending member *could* do so.Edited at 2015-04-20 02:08 am (UTC)