Early in the awards season, The Academy is experiencing some serious growing pains. In an effort to get with the times, nomination ballots can now be submitted online. Unfortunately, the transition is proving to be less than seamless.
The Hollywood Reporter discussed the e-issues with some of the Academy’s voting members. Logging onto the website, they explain, is complicated. Users are required to create a highly specified password, however, these passwords are often rejected. After three attempts, the site locks members out. Consulting the Academy’s helpline, some were given a new password, but were instructed to wait 24 hours before logging back in, while others had to wait for their new password to be delivered via snail mail.
“We have to balance the opposing needs of convenience and security,” an Academy spokesperson told THR.
These seemingly small technical difficulties could have large ramifications: The issues could deter members from submitting their ballot. “There will probably be a large percentage of people who will just say, ‘Screw it,’ and not even vote this year,” said one member.
Some have blamed the e-voting snafu on the median age of the Academy voting bloc and their inexperience with computers. If older members don’t end up voting, it could weaken traditional Oscar bait like “Lincoln” and “Les Miserables” chances of winning. However, 42-year-old filmmaker Morgan Spurlock dispelled the notion that older voters are the only ones flummoxed by the new system, stating “There’s even some young farts like myself that are having problems. It’s not like it’s the first time I’ve ever logged on to a computer.”
Ric Robertson, the Academy’s Chief operating officer, released a statement assuring that voter turnout will not be impacted.
“The idea that electronic voting will depress participation is without basis. Nominations voting patterns remain consistent with those of previous years, and we have every reason to expect that this will be a great Oscar season.”
For more on Oscar e-voting, click over to The Hollywood Reporter.
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