Election Procedure


CMA established the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1961 as an institution devoted to recognizing and honoring noteworthy individuals for their outstanding contributions to Country Music. The information below details the Hall of Fame selection process and criteria for evaluating candidates for the award.


Selecting Country Music Hall of Fame inductees happens in two phases:

  1. Nomination of Candidates
  2. Election of Winners

A Hall of Fame Nominating Committee will be vested with the responsibility of nominating a slate of Hall of Fame candidates. From this slate, which will also include a write-in portion for nominations on the first ballot, winners will be chosen by a panel of not less than 100 Hall of Fame electors.

The Hall of Fame Nominating Committees (Modern and Veterans Era)

  1. The committee will consist of 12 voting members, each serving a three‑year term.
  2. The CMA President and Chairman of the Board, along with the Chairman of the Awards & Recognition Committee, will serve as ex‑officio non‑voting members of the Hall of Fame Nominating Committees.
  3. The Hall of Fame Nominating Committees will each elect its own chairman.
  4. Each year, before the expiration of the terms of four members of the Hall of Fame Nominating Committees, the Awards and Recognition Committee will present four names to the CMA Board for ratification at their first quarterly Board meeting. A member whose term expires may again serve after the passage of three years.
  5. No member of the Hall of Fame Nominating Committees will be eligible for nomination to the Hall of Fame while serving on either of the Nominating Committees.

Panel of Electors

  1. A panel of at least 100 Hall of Fame electors will be charged with responsibility of selecting Hall of Fame winners.
  2. Electors will serve for life so long as they are in compliance with Items 7 and 8 below.
  3. Additional appointments may be made to the Panel of Electors as deemed necessary by the Board to maintain a sufficient number of Electors.
  4. Appointment to the Panel of Electors will be made by the CMA Board of Directors by a majority vote from a roster of recommended names prepared by the Awards and Recognition Committee. Any Board member may suggest additional names for consideration. Electors will be appointed on an individual basis, not as a panel
  5. The 12 members of the Hall of Fame Nominating Committee will also serve as Electors.
  6. Members of the CMA Board of Directors may also serve as Electors, but this role is not automatic.
  7. Electors must have participated actively in Country Music for at least 10 years and must themselves merit respect and recognition for their accomplishments and/or knowledge in one or more aspects of Country Music. Electors must be members of the Country Music Association.
  8. Electors failing to vote two consecutive years will automatically be considered incapacitated and their names dropped from the Panel. Written request will be required for reinstatement.

Nomination of Hall of Fame Candidates

  1. Each year the Chief Executive Officer of CMA and the Director of CMF will each present five names to the Nominating Committees for consideration. The committees will not be limited to or bound by those suggestions. Neither the CMA CEO or CMF Director is an elected member of the Nominating Committees and, therefore, neither has voting rights.
  2. Each year, at a date chosen by the Association, the Hall of Fame Nominating Committees will, by majority vote conducted by secret ballot, nominate no less than 10 nor more than 20 Hall of Fame candidates as official nominees for each category to be inducted in that year.  Deceased persons must have been dead one year prior to nomination.
  3. Beginning in 2010, there will be three induction categories:
  • Modern Era (eligible for induction in this category 20 years after they first achieve national prominence),
  • Veterans Era (eligible for induction in this category 40 years after they first achieve national prominence), and
  • Non-Performer, Songwriter, and Recording and/or Touring Musician active prior to 1980 (rotates every 3 years).

Nominations will be guided by the Hall of Fame Criteria which is listed separately.

  • Winter Stephans

    Gail Davies was the first female producer. She paved the way for others and deserves to be inducted in her lifetime.

  • Scott Caldwell

    DONNA FARGO should be inducted into The Country Music Hall Of Fame……Please consider giving this honor to one of the Greatest Country Music Legends!!!! IT IS WAY PAST TIME!!!!

  • Bob Carns

    Donna Fargo was past time to be inducted into The Country Music Hall of Fame. Please consider giving her this honor!

  • Richard Fry

    how can I post here?

  • Richard Fry

    My wife’s grandfather was Al Dexter, he was a pioneer in the Honky Tonk music and had 12 gold records in the 1940’s, his first hit Pistol Packin Mama sold 3 million copies and was also recorded by numerous other artist among them Bing Crosby, and Frank Sinatra. He had his own club in Ft. Worth, where he performed for many years until his retirement. In 1946 his Guitar Polka was almost 4 months as #1 and even made the Top 20 on the Pop Charts. He performed on Broadway as well. He was voted Leading Artist by the Jukebox Operators Association in 1946, and inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1971. Please consider him as a candidate.

  • Eduardo Esteban Estes

    I would like for someone in charge of this place to tell me how Garth Brooks got in the hall of fame before Jerry Reed.
    Jerry Reed:
    Wrote songs for Brenda Lee, Porter Wagoner, ELVIS, Johnny Cash, and many more.
    He played guitar on many records by Hall of Fame members such as Chet Atkins, Bobby Bare, Waylon Jennings and many more.
    He had a very successful recording career of his own. He composed guitar instrumentals recorded by Chet Atkins and himself.
    He took country music to the movies with Smokey and the Bandit.

    Jerry Reed has more business being in the hall of fame than Garth Brooks and that’s a fact.
    It’s a travesty and I feel it calls into question the CMAs credibility in selecting inductees for the hall of fame!
    Eddie Estes

  • Bert

    The biggest omission I see in the hall of fame roster today is the Stanley Brothers. Country Music spun off Bluegrass music in the forties and fifties. Bill Monroe is in the hall. Flatt and Scruggs are in the hall. But the third pillar of that branch of country music was certainly the Stanleys. When they stopped playing in a Wade Mainer style and adopted a Bill Monroe style (even scooping the Bluegrass Boys to record Monroe’s Molly and Tenbrooks before Monroe did), that imitation in 1948 really solidified the Bluegrass genre.

    Sure, Bluegrass isn’t of much interest to most country music fans these days. But the ironic thing is, among the three critical bands (Monroe, Flatt & Scruggs and the Stanleys), the band that played the most old country music style music was the Stanleys!

    Carter has passed but Ralph is still alive. If anybody deserves to be in the Country Music Hall of Fame, those guys do.

  • Ole Buck

    Next thing you know they will admit Chris Gaines.

  • Ole Buck

    Not sure anybody from the HOF reads this, but how can Jimmy Martin not be a member?

  • Kim

    There are a lot more Bluegrass Fans than you may think,
    I would have to say I am a Life Long Fan of the Osborne Brothers and especially Bobby , for he is still going strong today, Bobby’s singing voice
    has always been his signature sound, and Sonny’s awesome Banjo playing is his, I feel these Brothers deserve to be honored , they came from a little town ,and worked hard to get where they have been in their Bluegrass Journey. Bobby has said many times, that when he plays at the Opry it feels like it did when he first stepped foot on the stage over 50 years ago, He is very honored and humble.. I feel that the Country Music Hall of Fame should consider doing the Roots of Bluegrass and I feel the Osborne Brothers should play a big part in it, along with the Monroe’s,the Stanley’s. Flatt & Scruggs, Ronnie Reno, Lewis Family, Rhonda Vincent, andRicky Scaggs and I know I am missing many other talented ones please take into consideration and do us Bluegrass Fans a Favor,, before the new generation comes in and everyone forgets the Original Roots.. for I feel it is all starting to fade away even for Country Music doesn’t even sound like the original country music, I know we need to advance with times, but let us not forget the past…

  • Sandy Young

    Jeannie Seely should be in the Country Music Hall of Fame. She has supported and contributed to country music her whole life. She has been a member of the Grand Ole Opry since 1967. She is not only a great singer but also a great song writer.

  • trace adkins has not been inducted? hmm trace adkins will be singing the national anthem at sunday’s titams game, member of grand ole opry over 10 years/and on tour now coast to coast selling out every show…20 year career…..not inductied but you are inducting ERIC CHURCH? trace is a country music superstar, winner of all star celebrity apprentice winning over 1 million for his charity the american red cross, well known in acting business appeared in several movies and filming movie with clint eastwood’s son this year,a strong supporter of our troops over 10 uso tours so far. and also his work with the wounded warrior project….has lived in nashville area for years ! also a philanthropist, has 5 daughters and 3 grand babies…..now tell me what has eric church done??????

  • politics all in who you know……………..i am not happy either!!!

  • Mike O’Brien

    Nashville and CMA shun Texas country. Townes Van Zandt, Guy Cark, Jerry Jeff Walker.

  • iknowhatimtalkingabout

    wow…….. first of all you are terribly misinformed. The country music
    hall of fame MUSEUM has opened an EXHIBIT on Eric Church… you know,
    behind glass walls, in a display case, tour jacket, pair of boots, high
    school diploma, first guitar, locks of hair, first loose tooth, etc, he
    is NOT being voted into the HALL OF FAME… he has a DISPLAY IN THE
    MUSEUM… wow, you are so informed …. Second, there are 3 categories
    for nomination, and Eric fits into the “Modern Era” which defines
    nomination as “Modern Era (eligible for induction in this category 20
    years after they first achieve national prominence),soooooooooooo…..
    Eric isn’t even eligible yet. And neither is Trace Adkins. ….

  • Christopher Gosdin

    Vern Gosdin

  • Amy

    I would love to see Vern gosdin inducted into the hall of fame

  • angel zunigamartinez

    Freddy Fender that wrote and performed “Wasted Days and Wasted Nights” is a no brainer. Are there even any other Hispanic Americans or minorities in the Country Music Hall of Fame? Freddy is one of the reasons I began listening to Country music and even picked up a guitar to try my hand at songwriting. Freddy’s influence to expand Country music to a wider audience is unquestionable.

  • Ernie

    One great artist that has been over looked for years is Dottie West. She was so instrumental in so many careers. Many artist would not be where they are today without her influence. I’m sure Willie Nelson Larry Gatlin and others would agree with this. Its a shame this talented and influential artist has gone without recognition.

  • Tomhere

    I can’t understand why DON RICH has not been honored. Any fan of 60s Country Music should agree without reservation. What would Tiger By The Tail have been without Don’s harmony, or ANY Buck Owen song for that matter?
    Don RIch was a huge part of many country music chart-toppers.
    I’m going to come up there and make a sign that says “DON RICH” and stand out front for a couple of days until you get the idea.

  • Tomhere

    Surely just a matter of time.

  • Vanessa Chacon

    How about Freddy Fender?!?!?!?!?

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  • Darrell Elder

    where is Hank jr. at ? he should’ve been there years ago with all he has influenced.

  • James Hood

    Where the Hell is Anne Murray? If she doesnt deserve to be in the Hall nobody does!!!!!!!!!! Ok country fans lets get her in next year!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Perry Strebel

    Reading this year’s 2016 inductees and reading who has already been inducted into the Hall of Fame, one has to acknowledge in disbelief the sexism factor of country music,
    It’s all about “The Good Ole Boys”
    Racism, sexism, homophobia, is just exactly what Nashville and the country music industry is totally all about.
    White men are in total control of Nashville.
    They beat their women & luv their dogs.
    There are several women you should see being inducted who’s NOT.
    Lynn Anderson, who was at one time the only country music performer on national TV. Crossed huge barriers for not only female butt male country artist too. One of a very few singers who could belt out a tune in any music category. Anderson’s crossover appeal and regular exposure on national television helped her to become one of the most popular and successful country singers of the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s.
    Lynn Anderson was the #13 artist of the 1970s according to Joel Whitburn’s “Billboard Hot Country Singles” book and the highest ranking artist of the list not yet in the Country Music Hall of Fame.
    What a shame.

  • Joseph Skinner Sr.

    Jerry Lee Lewis should have been added a long time ago.

  • Debbie Reiter

    Johnny Rodriguez is another that is blatently missing.


    Freddy Fender should definitely be in the Hall of Fame and it is about time he was nominated if you want to do the right thing. Please think of the fans.


    I just realized but found unbelievable that Jerry Lee Lewis is not in the Hall of Fame. How is that possible? He has decades of country hits and can’t believe he has not been nominated. This is something you should correct quickly. Thank you.

  • Mike Webber

    How come folks like Steve Wariner, Margo Smith, and 2 rockabilly hall of fame ladies like Bonnie Lou and Wanda Jackson aren’t in the hall of fame. They’re all deserving if you ask me


    I must admit I don’t know your suggestions that well but am willing to look into them. I think in general there is a big problem with the HOF not including input from the fans. I can agree with a qualified committee to make the final nominations but so important that the fans should have some input into this process. The fans are the ones who can make or break an artist by their support with record sales, concert attendance etc. We live in a democracy and it is only right for the HOF to be more open about nominees or they will just become a relic that no one respects. I urge the HOF to actively seek out the public support and input for the HOF to make it more popular and relevant in the world.


    Also look at this site. It is pathetic that there are so few posts over the years and will never become an important site. Again I blame those in charge for not encouraging a great forum for the millions of Country Music fans all over the world. There should be dozens of posts a day and a lot of talk even in the news about the fans of Country Music and the artists they love and support. This would only be good and positive for Nashville, HOF and Country Music in general. I just hope someone will listen.

  • Mike Webber

    Boy I hope something changes. I really don’t listen to country music anymore as everything sounds the same. My folks listened to it all the time in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. God I remember Norma Jean before Dolly was ever thought of as her replacement!

  • Kayla Hooten

    I think the HOF should give Leona Williams a good look. She’s been active in country music her entire life, and started her own radio show at the age of 15. Played upright bass for Loretta Lynn. She was married to, and sang harmony and duets with Merle Haggard, and wrote some beautiful #1 hits (Someday when things are Good and You Take me for Granted, recorded by Merle Haggard). Has had a lot of her songs recorded by big time artists. She is still touring and recording. She was the first female to record a live album at San Quentin Prison, backed by Merle Haggard’s Band, The Strangers. She went to Vietnam to sing for our troops. She’s a very talented singer/ songwriter. She’s fought and won the battle against breast cancer. She is such an inspiration and true to Country Music. I could talk for days about her and the great things and awards she has won, but please, someone in the Country Music HOF committee, please take some time to find out, and nominate her now, so we can see that big, beautiful smile when she gets on stage! Thanks for your time.

  • David Avery

    I believe gene watson should be inducted into the hof. He is still carrying on the country musuc tradition.

  • Eddielovescarla

    What about The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band? The Circle albums influenced an entire generation to the icons of traditional country music, plus, they had a great radio career, and have endured for half a century


    I will be honest, I am 67 years old and remember the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band well and never thought of them as country or western. I think it would be a real long shot if they were ever nominated but I believe in everybody expressing their wishes here.

  • Michelle Williamson

    I’d love to know how people are nominated. Can fans ask that someone be considered? If fans can ask someone be considered for nomination, please consider Joey+Rory for this honor. They gave an amazing contribution to Country Music and that contribution will carry on even though Joey has passed. Even through Joey’s illness and passing they embodied their beliefs that they sang about and shared with anyone willing to listen. Rory continues sharing their beliefs through both the movie, “To Joey, with Love”, and his blog, ” This Life I Live”. Please, if you take fans suggestions into consideration…choose Joetpy+Rory for nomination into the Country Music Hall of Fame.


    Thank you Michelle, I admire you for posting to this potentially important site. I just wish more fans posted here because eventually it would make a difference. I don’t even know who Joey+Rory is but I am very supportive of you taking the time and effort to ask for there nomination. Always wishing you the best and good luck.