How Are The Emmys Decided? There Are Apparently Scantrons Involved, So Get Excited

The Emmys are finally here, but in actuality, the process of creating this year's fabulous evening of television has been going on for a long time. Sure, the only Emmy prep I needed was re-watching my favorite episodes of Girls and fawning over Mindy Kaling when she and Carson Daly made the big nominee announcements, but for the members of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the behind-the-scenes stuff that's responsible for making the 2014 Emmys happen has been a huge undertaking. Well, obviously. The Emmys are awesome.

The viewers at home pretty much just have to turn on their TVs and find out who wins in each category, but when it comes to determining the winners, Emmy voters — otherwise known as active members of the ATAS — must go through a tedious process that ensures that those winners are named fairly. It's all a little confusing and hard to understand, but fortunately, the masterminds over at the ATAS have come through with a pretty, easily digested infographic to explain how the Emmy awards are determined each year.

It all starts with Emmy voters casting their ballots for the nominees, which are tallied up by the (hopefully single and good looking) people at Ernst and Young. After that? We're into the final judging steps, which take place in July.

Although all the Emmy voters are responsible for helping choose the nominees, not all of them actually select the winners. Judges are selected on a volunteer basis to create panels, and then those people watch the submissions for each category at home and choose who they think should win. In this part of the process, they have until two weeks before the show to cast their votes via Scantron, which is giving me major high school flashbacks — and not in a good way. And after that, they have to sign an affidavit that says they actually watched the submissions. Because you can't just vote for stuff without watching it. That would be crazy.

Next up: The fun part! Ballots are received, tallied by both a machine and those accountants we talked about earlier, winners names are printed and put in those famous envelopes, and very securely transported to the Nokia Theater via locked briefcase so they're ready for the show.

And from there? We sit on the couch with our snacks (and booze? Yeah, there's booze) and enjoy the show.

So when you're watching this year's Emmys, just remember how much work went into making them appear on your TV screen — and pour out a little for your Emmy voter homies.

Images: Emmys (3)