Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 July 2014

Oscar voting deadline extended

The Oscars has a new online voting system this year

Growing concern that problems with the new electronic Oscar voting system could lead to record-low turnout has prompted the motion picture academy to extend the deadline for members to vote for Oscar nominations.

But with next week's highly anticipated announcements looming, the extension is only for a day, until Friday. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said any votes received after the new deadline will not be counted.

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

Reports of difficulty accessing the Oscars' first-ever online voting system and fears that it could be hacked have raised questions about balloting for the 85th annual contest. Earlier this year, the academy and its long-time accountants, PricewaterhouseCoopers, partnered with the electronic voting firm Everyone Counts Inc to develop the system.

"There's considerable concern from many members that voter participation will be at record lows this year because the people who wanted to take a chance on this new cutting-edge system are either giving up on it or worried they won't be able to cast their votes," said Scott Feinberg, awards analyst and blogger for The Hollywood Reporter.

In the past, Oscar voting has been compiled strictly through paper ballots sent through the mail. The new system allows members to choose between voting online or sticking with a traditional mail-in ballot.

Morgan Spurlock, the documentary filmmaker whose 2004 film Super Size Me was nominated for best documentary, posted on Twitter last week that he wasn't able to log on to vote electronically and his ballot was instead mailed to him.

"The password they sent didn't work for my log-in - and they couldn't email me a new log-in, only snail mail," tweeted the 42-year-old director.

The academy said it has made several voting resources available to members, including assisted voting stations in Los Angeles, New York and London, and a 24-hour support line.

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