The CARAs use the internet to allow people all over the world to assist in the nominating and judging process. By using the web, we can get more people involved, and simultaneously guarantee consistently high-quality judging.
In order to join a nominating committee for the CARAs, any person may apply using the application form on this website no later than November 15. S/he must have adequate a cappella experience and knowledge , have no relations/conflicts of interest with any competing groups in the category(ies) in which s/he is working, and s/he must be committed to impartiality . Judges and nominators can be anywhere in the world while they are performing their duties but they must be CASA members in order to participate. (If you wish to apply, you may purchase a CASA membership at the following page: www.casa.org/individual_membership.)
A diverse subset of the individuals from the pool of applicants will be chosen as judges. Qualifications may include superior musicianship, a cappella experience and knowledge, and recording or production experience. We take the qualifications of our judges very seriously in an effort to maintain the prestige of the CARAs. These positions require a lesser time commitment than do the nominating positions (because there is significantly less music to which you must listen) but is reserved for individuals who have demonstrated the highest level of proficiency in the a cappella domain.
All eligible albums will be uploaded to our secure site as they become available: no later than December 31 of the awarding year. By January all albums within an assigned category will be listened to by no less than five and no more than twenty nominators. Nominators will have the ability to choose as many albums/tracks as they see fit to nominate in each category. Once all albums are received on December 31, nominators will be asked to go through their selections and pare down their choices as necessary after hearing all available options. At this time nominations can be added, removed, or otherwise changed, as the circumstances dictate. On January 20, nominations are frozen and nominations are tallied. The four or five albums and tracks in each category with the most nominations are considered the official nominations and are published on February 1. If there is a tie, e-mail discussion between coordinators and nominators will determine the contested spot(s).
Once nominations have finished, judges will receive their passwords to download and listen to the eligible albums/tracks. Judges rank all of the nominated albums and tracks in every category for which they are judging. Each category will be listened to by no less than five judges. Scores for each category are submitted to a run-off algorithm, yielding a winner and a runner-up in each. If there is a tie, email discussions between coordinators and judges will determine the contested spot(s). Winners and runners-up are announced on www.casa.org on April 5.