Nominations for the 2016 Hugo Awards, John W. Campbell Award for Best New Author, and 1941 Retrospective Hugo Awards close at 23:59 Pacific Standard Time at the end of the day on Thursday, March 31, 2016. (That’s 06:59 GMT/UTC on April 1, 2016.) Anyone who was or is a member of the 2015, 2016, or 2017 World Science Fiction Conventions as of the end of January 2016 may nominate. Members may nominate up to five works in each category. Note that you can nominate as little as one work in one category. It is not necessary to fill out every space or to nominate in every category.
After nominations close, the Hugo Award Administrators will tally nominations, confirm eligibility, and begin contacting potential finalists. Under the rules of the World Science Fiction Society, every potential finalist must be given an opportunity to decline nomination to the shortlist. Once this process is complete, the current Worldcon, MidAmeriCon II, will announce the shortlist of finalists for each category. It typically takes several weeks to complete the eligibility and contact process. MidAmeriCon II said in a post on Twitter that the 2016 Hugo Awards shortlist will be announced on April 26. Voting on the final ballot will open May 15 May and close July 31.
Note that the people/works who appear on the final ballot are “finalists.” Historically the term “nominees” was used, but this term was officially deprecated by the World Science Fiction Society in favor of “finalist” in a change ratified in 2015. There appear to be some people who have been told by individual members that they’ve received one or more nomination votes in the nomination process, and have started billing themselves as “Hugo Award Nominees.” The term “Hugo Award Nominee” has no official meaning, and it does not mean that the work or person will be on the final Hugo Award ballot.