I'll be honest, I've thought of the People's Choice as a marketing award from the beginning. But being good at marketing is its own skill, and one I suggest that indie game designers who want to make commercial games learn to some degree or another.
I absolutely understand your reasoning but there's very little a newcomer or really small dev could do marketingwise to compete in this category. Don't you think this will simply end as the "who had the biggest patreon crowd at the start of the competition"-award?
Don't get me wrong, I don't want to sound ungrateful. If that's more or less the intention of the People's Choice award, that's absolutely fine!