The members of Westercon vote on where to hold the Westercon two years in advance. If your group wants to bid for the right to host a Westercon, you must file bidding papers with the Westercon that will hold that election. For example, if you want to bid to hold the 2018 Westercon, you must file your bidding papers with the 2016 Westercon.
What Locations are Eligible
Any site in North America west of 104° west longitude is eligible to file, plus Hawaii. Islands associated with North America (such as, but not limited to, Vancouver Island, Santa Catalina, and the Aleutian Islands) are part of “North America” for this purpose. See a rough map showing what parts of North America are eligible. Sites do not have to be within the USA. There have been Westercons in Canada, and sites in Mexico are eligible. This area is divided into three Regions to help ensure that sites move around. (See “Regional Restrictions” below.)
Documents to File
The required documents you have to file are specified in the Westercon Bylaws. You will need these documents:
- A statement of intent to bid listing at least two (2) separate people declaring themselves Chairman and Treasurer. This can be as simple as a letter to the site selection administrator (the person running the current election) announcing that you’re bidding, listing at least these two officers (you can include more people) and the summary information about your bid (site, dates). Don’t include your guests of honor! By tradition, bids do not announce guests; only the winning Westercon announces its guests.
- An organizing instrument for the sponsoring organization behind the bid, such as bylaws, articles of incorporation or association, or a partnership agreement. If your sponsoring organization is located within the United States of America, you must also provide evidence (such as a copy of your articles of incorporation or a tax-exempt determination letter from the Internal Revenue Service) that the sponsoring organization is a non-profit group (such as an association or corporation) within the applicable law of the state in which it is organized.
- A letter of intent or option from a hotel or other facility (like a convention center) declaring specific dates on which the Westercon shall be held. You obviously can’t sign a binding contract with your facility until after you win, but you have to show that you have facilities in which you plan to hold your convention.
Where to Send the Bid Filing
Send these documents to the Westercon that will administer the election before April 15 of the year in which the election will happen (two years before the year you want to hold your Westercon). The Westercon administering the election will usually have a member of the committee with the title of “Site Selection Administrator.” Contact that person to file your bid if possible.
Deadline for Filing
April 15 of the voting year (two years before the year for which you are bidding) is the filing deadline to have your bid listed on the ballot; if you file after that, you can only run as a write-in bid. In addition it is better to file your bid before the end of the year before your election, because of the regional restrictions noted below.
Western North America is divided into three regions (North, Central, South)* for the purpose of holding Westercon. Initially each year, only sites from the regions not hosting the current Westercon (where the voting happens) are allowed to file bids. If any bids file by the end of the calendar year before the election, then only sites from the region not hosting the current Westercon can file bids. If no bids file by that deadline, then the field is opened up to include the otherwise excluded regions.
The 2015 Westercon was in San Diego (South zone). The 2015 Westercon ran the election to select the 2017 Westercon. Any group that wanted to bid for the 2017 Westercon needed to file the documents listed above with the 2015 Westercon. Until the end of 2014, only bids from the North and Central zones were eligible. No bids filed by the end of 2014, so bids from the South zone became eligible. A bid for Tempe AZ filed before the April 15, 2015 ballot deadline, and was the only candidate on the ballot.
The 2016 Westercon in Portland will hold the election to select the 2018 Westercon. Portland is in the North region. Until December 31, 2015, only sites in the other regions (not the North region) can file bidding papers with Portland to hold the 2018 Westercon. If any bid from the other regions files by December 31, 2015, the North region is “locked out” of the 2018 election. If no bids file by then, bids from the North region become eligible. In any event, only bids filed by April 15, 2016 will appear on the 2018 election ballot. The election will happen at the 2016 Westercon.
*There’s technically a fourth region consisting of places not defined by the first three, but currently it contains no sites, so you can ignore it for the purpose of this explanation.