Oscars online voting problems creates concern among voters, could create lower turnout

By Daniel S Levine,

While online voting might seem like an easy system to put in place, it hasn’t been for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. For the first time in its history, the Academy is allowing voters to vote online, but concerns over the system have already forced it to extend the nominations voting deadline to Friday. Now there are concerns that the system could have an impact on turnout and the films that receive nominations.

The Academy announced earlier this week that the first voting period, during which voters pick the films that will receive nominations on Jan. 10, will now end on Jan. 4, 24 hours later than previously announced.

“By extending the voting deadline we are providing every opportunity available to make the transition to online balloting as smooth as possible,” Academy chief operating officer Ric Robertson said in a statement, notes The AP. “We're grateful to our global membership for joining us in this process.”

Accountants PricewaterhouseCoopers and Everyone Votes teamed up to create the online system, which hasn’t been easy to use. According to The Hollywood Reporter’s Scott Feinberg, an Academy spokesman said that a “majority” of voters decided to go with the online ballots instead of the traditional paper ballots.

The troubles voters encountered included the passwords, which were supposed to be intricate. Many complained that they were locked out after three attempts to log-in, even though they made sure to carefully enter the passwords in correctly.

Feinberg suggests that this struggle could lead to youth-skewering, edgier films, like The Master or Moonrise Kingdom, getting more attention over traditional Oscar bait like Lincoln and Les Miserables. However, even tech-savvy filmmakers are having trouble using the system.

Super Size Me director Morgan Spurlock has been vocal about his issues with the system. “There's even some young-farts like myself that are having problems,” he told THR. "It's not like it's the first time I've ever logged on to a computer.”

Transformers producer Don Murphy said on Facebook that he wasn’t using the online system because it was “Too much work.”

Since the Academy never releases specific voting statistics, the impact of the online voting system will never likely be made public.

The Academy announces its Oscar nominees on Jan. 10, with the awards ceremony being held on Feb. 24.



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