So it's all wrapped up and I think it's turned out to be a lot more interesting than I'd previously suspected. Valve seem to have dealt with the concerns that I (and possibly many many other people have had) and made a sale that is both more relevant and exciting. It's day to day function was still fairly mechanical and nothing inspired beyond the minus percentages, however the sales actually had meaning. Unless I'm mistaken, which is admittedly possible, the final day didn't do the last round up of the biggest and best sales to rehash.
This is crucially important to my mind. I like that I can check in and cast my vote and have something to do as part of a meta-event in the sale but the sale itself has lost all meaning when spenders understand the best way to farm the system.
I think the daily events still need some work. I think back to the christmas sale of 2011 (I think) which required certain achievements to be earned in game. This was really cool but obviously required dev's to make an effort to include new event specific goals and people to be able to download and get them on the day - not always a doable thing.
This sale event has been great, but something more meaningful than voting and chasing team swap tickets but less demanding than a full game download would be magnificent.
Go do that now Valve, nothing else on your plate.