While the task of designating the most outstanding college football player was daunting, a crucial decision was designating the group of individuals to select him. It was determined that a logical choice was sports journalists from all across the country who, as informed, competent and impartial, would comprise the group of electors.
The Heisman Trophy Trust governs the policies and procedures by which the balloting process is conducted. Specifically, six persons are chosen as Sectional Representatives. The Sectional Representatives are:
The Sectional Representatives are responsible for the appointment of the State Representatives. State Representatives are given the responsibility of selecting the voters within their particular state. The amount of votes that a particular state is allotted depends on the size of the state and the amount of media outlets within that state. Larger states such as California and Texas will naturally have more votes than smaller states such as Vermont and Delaware.
The states are divided into the six sections accordingly:
Far West: AZ, CA, HI, ID, MT, ND, NV, OR, SD, UT, WA, WY
Mid Atlantic: DC, DE, MD, NC, NJ, PA, SC, VA, WV
Mid West: IA, IL, IN, MI, MN, OH, WI
North East: CT, MA, ME, NH, NYC, NY, RI, VT
South: AL, FL, GA, KY, LA, MS, TN
Southwest: AR, CO, KS, MO, NE, NM, OK, TX
Each Section within the United States has 145 media votes, totaling 870 media votes across the country. Additionally every former Heisman winner, 57 presently, has a vote as well. In 1999, The Heisman Trophy agreed to develop a special program to allow the public at large to become part of the balloting process by permitting one (1) fan vote eligible in the overall tabulation. This program once again continues this year through a partnership with Nissan North America, bringing the total number of voters for the 2012 Heisman race to 928.
The actual ballots include a space for electors to designate three individuals for the Heisman Trophy. The first choice on an elector's ballot receives three points in the overall voting tabulation, the second choice receives two points and the third choice receives one point.
Ballots are void unless signed by the elector. A first, second and third choice must be indicated on each ballot. The Heisman Committee created the point system in an effort to eliminate any sectional favoritism.
The ballots state that "In order that there will be no misunderstanding regarding the eligibility of a candidate, the recipient of the award MUST be a bona fide student of an accredited college or university including the United States Academies. The recipients must be in compliance with the bylaws defining an NCAA student athlete."
The independent accounting firm of Deloitte tabulates the Heisman ballots. Deloitte is responsible for mailing the ballots and voting instructions. Since 2002, electors have the option of sending their completed ballot to Deloitte via mail or voting online via a secured website, created and maintained by Deloitte personnel. Deloitte tabulates all ballots and tallies the votes according to the point system outlined above. The individual with the most points receives The Heisman Memorial Trophy.