OK, Academy members, this is your last chance to switch from online voting to a paper ballot or simply even request a paper ballot to vote in the finals for the 2012 Oscars. Balloting begins February 8th and runs to 5 PM PT on February 19th, but if you find yourself frustrated by what some members feel is a too-complex online voting experience during nominations, you only have until tomorrow, February 1, to switch to paper by calling 1-800 251-0185 or emailing the membership department at email@example.com.
The Academy Of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences seems to be doing everything it can to avoid some of the problems members had with online voting for noms, mostly just by just trying repeatedly to inform members they do have the option of paper but must make that request by tomorrow. A follow-up to last week’s email informing voters of their options was sent to members by President Hawk Koch earlier this afternoon. It was simply to inform them of tomorrow’s deadline to request paper with a P.S. that all members would be receiving a package of DVD screeners for the nominated Live Action and Animated shorts and Documentary Features by start of voting. Rather than allowing voting for these films only at special screenings, this is the first year the Academy is sending them to the entire membership in order to foster greater participation.
Based on my own very unscientific survey among Academy voters, I am hearing a number of them are switching to paper after a frustrating online experience. Others I have spoken to are sticking to voting online, even though some admitted it took a couple of tries to do it. In fact, Academy COO Ric Robertson told me over the weekend the volume of requests to switch to paper has not been large. On the other hand, rumors persist and one prominent industry exec told Deadline they heard “hundreds” were requesting paper. Whatever the stats regarding online or paper, the Academy says it saw the largest voter turnout for nominations in memory.
As chronicled here for the past several weeks, due to the Academy’s stringent security requirements to prevent hackers from invading the Oscar voting process, members had to present special passwords and codes before they were even allowed to vote. In order to smooth the process and provide detailed instructions, the Academy has also created and emailed to members an “e-Voter Guide: Step by Step”. It begins by listing the four things any online Oscar voter will need to start: 1) a voter identification number, 2) a voting password, 3) a security code, and 4) a telephone (so you can receive a security code by text message once you enter your VIN and password — which is a new password not to be confused with your regular membership password). The guide then offers a visual tour of everything needed to vote, with screen grabs provided to illustrate each step. If you can’t follow any of the points I have written about here, it’s time to request a paper ballot and vote for the Oscars the old fashioned way with a pen and stamped envelope.
For the technologically challenged among us, sometimes snail mail doesn’t look so bad.