The final round of Emmy voting began earlier this week (August 15th), and Television Academy members have two weeks (August 29th at 10PM PST) to complete their ballots online for the top series and program awards of the year as well as the awards within their own branch.
Unlike the Oscars, most Emmy categories are voted on by their peers: only actors vote in the acting categories, only directors vote in the directing categories, and writers vote in the writing categories. The series and program races are exceptions with all 20,000+ national members eligible to vote in the top awards if they wish.
For the second year in a row all Academy members are eligible to vote in every category within their own branch. This means that actors can vote in all 18 performance categories as well as the top series and program awards of the year. Upon voting, participating members are asked to agree to an honor system vowing to watch all of the submitted tapes for each nominee. Each branch has different rules, but generally each nominee usually submits a single episode to be judged while the top series of the year submit six episodes.
In a section of the Emmy’s website only accessible to Television Academy members, voters have access to the necessary episodes for each category to watch before making their final decisions. Those episodes have been available online since August 8th, a week before voting opened. However, there is no system in place to monitor and guarantee that every voter watches all of the necessary tapes before placing their final votes.
In the years leading up to 2015 it had been reported that anywhere from 40-100 branch members made up the peer group juries and the series/program cross-branch juries consisted of hundreds of Emmy members.
In those smaller juried years voters were also restricted to two peer-group categories per year and two program races per year, but as of 2015 all Television Academy members are allowed to vote in any category they desire to as long as they belong to that specific branch.
This year, for the first time, voters have been asked to simply vote for their favorite nominee of the year opposed to preferentially ranking the given nominees like in years past. So if a member wants to vote for Game of Thrones in the Outstanding Drama Series race they simply check off the show and move on. Before 2016, voters were asked to rank their ballots (1. Game of Thrones 2. House of Cards 3. Downton Abbey, etc), and the winner was then determined from those rankings.
The final round of Emmy voting is overseen by the company Everyone Counts (the same company used for the Oscars) and can only be completed online. After the winners are determined they will be announced at either one of the two Creative Arts Ceremonies on September 10th and 11th (broadcast in an edited version on September 17th on FXX) or on the Primetime Emmy Ceremony on September 18th (ABC).