The Gold Knight: Oscars to go digital, e-voting on the horizon (updated)Written by James A. Molnar | The Gold Knight | firstname.lastname@example.org
No postage required. The motion picture academy is looking to ditch snail-mail voting.
Before next year’s Oscars, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences plans to “undertake a rigorous security and user-acceptance testing process” for an electronic voting system, the organization announced on Jan. 25.The Academy is partnering with Everyone Counts Inc. to “exclusively develop an electronic voting system for the 85th Academy Awards, to be held in 2013,” according to the press release.
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the current paper ballot tabulator, will remain as the accounting firm of record.
“This is the first of many steps that we’ll be taking toward developing a secure and convenient electronic voting system, beginning with next year’s ballot,” said Academy Chief Operating Officer Ric Robertson. “We’re excited to have found great partners in the people who do this best.”
The selection of Everyone Counts is the result of an 18-month search by the Academy. A global leader in the election industry, Everyone Counts is known around the world for building military-grade security into its technology. The company’s clients include the United States Department of Defense; the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Justice; the state of New South Wales, Australia; and the states of Oregon, Florida and Washington.
“We are honored to have earned the trust of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in bringing online voting to the Oscars starting next year,” said Lori Steele, chairman and CEO of Everyone Counts Inc., in the press release. “Our company was founded to set a new standard of security, accessibility and transparency in elections.”
The New York Times reported last May that the Academy would begin electronic voting for the Oscars as earlier as 2012.
On May 19, 2011, the non-profit film organization sent a letter to its voting members, about 6,000, informing them that an e-voting system would be implemented “as early as this year, and will certainly be in effect by next year.”
Signed by Kimberly Roush, managing director of membership and awards at the Academy, the letter asked members for a direct, personal email address, according to the Times report. “At some point, once the system is up and running,” wrote Roush, “mailed ballots will be eliminated.”
Last year’s Academy Awards were the most interactive for audiences in Oscar history and it appears the Academy is looking to extend its burgeoning use of technology to its members.
The Gold Knight even complimented the Academy for its use of technology, saying that it “has been showing off its technological prowess.”
Find more information about Everyone Counts here.
This year’s Oscars are Sunday, Feb. 26, 2012, on ABC.
UPDATE: The Academy is going ahead with e-voting for the 85th Academy Awards, it confirmed on Sept. 18.
The announcement of Oscars nominations was moved five days earlier — than the date announced in March — to Jan. 10, 2013, “in an effort to provide members and the public a longer period of time to see the nominated films,” according to the Academy.
In order to help members with voting, the Academy is installing assisted voting stations in Los Angeles, New York and London, a 24-hour telephone help line during voting periods, and paper ballots.
Electronic voting will be an option for members in specific categories.
“In the pre-Nominations phase, members will continue to vote via paper ballot in eight categories due to specialized screening schedules and processes,” the news release said. “Those categories are Animated Feature Film, Animated Short Film, Live Action Short Film, Documentary Feature, Documentary Short Subject, Foreign Language Film, Makeup and Hairstyling and Visual Effects.”
Toledo Free Press Lead Designer and Film Editor James A. Molnar blogs about all things Oscar at TheGoldKnight.com.