You need to make some sort of impression on the forum to be recognized. The people who make more impressions with others are usually the people who the userbase considers popular. The point of Member of the Year is to vote on your experiences and who you know (or know of) and who you think should win.
That said, I think the results usually tend to get it right in the end.
And I told them. I was butthurt. I'll admit that. No point in not to, everyone knows. Something else also didn't feel right, that I can't put my finger on. That's how I felt. Sorry.