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In case you didn’t notice, it’s a big election year. But before we get to the presidential contest this November, we’ve got some things to settle right here in our own backyard.

That’s right: Voting begins today for the Seattle 2.0 Startup Awards, building up to the big event on May 3. GeekWire is proud to present this fourth annual celebration of the best and brightest in this corner of the tech world.

We’ve spent the past few weeks sorting through hundreds of nominations, narrowing the field down with the guidance of our esteemed judging panel. Today, we’re announcing 65 finalists in more than a dozen categories, from Startup CEO of the Year to Mobile App of the Year to Geek of the Year.

Here’s your chance to help determine the winners. In the community spirit of the awards, we’re encouraging readers to cast their ballots in all categories. You can see all of the finalists and submit all of your votes here starting today.

Over the next two weeks, as we lead up to the big event at the Experience Music Project on May 3, we’ll also be highlighting one category per day on GeekWire. Today’s category — sponsored by Protingent — is Hire of the Year. May the best geek win.

We’re excited to see everyone at the big bash on May 3, where we’ll announce the winners and feature a keynote talk by PopCap Games co-founder John Vechey.

This annual event has become mainstay in the Seattle tech community, and we’re excited to carry on the tradition begun by Seattle 2.0 founder Marcelo Calbucci. We will be taking over the SkyChurch, Liquid Lounge, and VIP Blue Room at the EMP for an all-out party for the thriving tech community.

Early-bird pricing for tickets ends Friday, so don’t delay. You won’t want to miss this one-of-a-kind event.

A note on the process: Finalists in each category were chosen from open community nominations in March. We excluded ourselves and anyone who has worked for GeekWire from the finalists, in addition to anyone directly involved in the event.

Judges also excluded themselves from voting in any category in which they had a business interest. The voting period runs through April 23, and the polling technology allows for one vote per person in each category.

Thanks for participating, and we’re looking forward to seeing everyone on May 3.

Thanks to our event sponsors FilterProtingentSalad LabsSilicon Valley Bank,  SplunkWashington Partners, Heinz MarketingBader MartinSEOmozChristensen O’Connor Johnson KindnessKnoll, and Creativello for their support. Email for available sponsorship opportunities, and learn more here

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