On the heels of a year of rampant complaints but record turnout, AMPAS eliminates extra steps
After a rocky start to online Oscar voting in 2012, the Academy has taken steps to make the process simpler and more effective, it told its members in an email on Friday afternoon.
The new online system will open on Monday — two months before Oscar voting begins — to allow members to pay their annual dues and either sign up for online voting or request paper ballots. It will incorporate three significant changes from last year's system, which frustrated some voters and led the Academy to make changes on the fly and push back deadlines.
“Over the last eight months, we've simplified the process,” read the email to members from AMPAS CEO Dawn Hudson. “We listened to your feedback, and we improved the user experience without lowering the bar on security.”
1) Members will have the same username and password to sign into both the members’ site and the voting site. Last year, they needed separate passwords for each.
2) The Academy has eliminated an extra step in last year's process, in which members who signed up for online voting received a voter identification number (VIN) in the mail and had to sign into the voting site using that number. Members will not receive VINs this year.
(An Academy spokesperson said the VIN will be built into the “back end” of the system, where members won't have to deal with it.)
3) Members who forget their passwords or need to change them will be able to do so online without delay, and without having to call a customer service line.
“Online voting is convenient and easy to use – allowing you to vote from anywhere in the world and on any internet platform, whether you're on location, in the office, or on vacation,” added Hudson's email.
Although the system was controversial last year, then-AMPAS president Hawk Koch said it led to extremely high voter turnout, with 90 percent of the Academy's eligible members casting ballots for the last Oscars.
During the lead-up to nominations balloting last year, the Academy decided to send paper ballots to all members who hadn't signed up for online voting, regardless of whether they'd requested the ballots. AMPAS has not revealed whether it will do the same this year.
Nominations voting will begin on Dec. 27 and close on Jan. 8, with nominations announced on Jan. 16. Final voting will begin on Feb. 14 and end on Feb. 25, five days before the 86th Academy Awards on March 2.