Academy Extends Deadline to Request Paper Oscar Ballots
Two-week extension granted as shift to electronic voting alters procedures.
Although the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is making the transition to electronic voting this year, it announced Thursday that it is giving members who prefer traditional paper ballots two more weeks to request those ballots for this year's Oscar vote.
In past years, members who had paid their dues were automatically sent paper ballots. But with this year's push to encourage electronic voting, the Academy instituted a new procedure, earlier notifying members that they would have to request a paper ballot by Friday, Nov. 30 if they wanted to take part in the nominating process, which begins Dec. 17 and closes Jan. 3.
Apparently, not everyone got the message. A number of campaign consultants, monitoring the situation, have reported anecdotal evidence that some members remained unaware that they have to request paper ballots this year, and as a result, there was a concern among some that some potential voters would be disenfranchised once the deadline to request a paper ballot passed.
In a release issued today, the Academy announced that it is extending the deadline to request paper ballots until Dec. 14 "to ensure that all Academy members fully understand the voting options that are available to them this year."
"With the introduction of electronic voting this year, members must either register to vote electronically or request a paper ballot," Academy COO Ric Robertson said. "We're extending the deadline for requesting paper ballots to make completely sure that no member who prefers this method misses the boat."
The Academy reported that the majority of its nearly-6,000 member has already registered to vote online. Those who opt to vote electronically can register to do so through Wednesday, Jan. 2, a day before the nominating period closes.
To help with the transition to electronic voting, the Academy has set up assisted voting stations at its locations in Los Angeles, New York and London and will offer a 24-hour support call center during voting periods.
Nominations for the 85th Academy Awards will be announced Jan. 10, and the Oscar ceremony will be held on Feb. 24.