Oscar Voting Goes Digital

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has alerted its members that possibly in 2012 and definitely by 2013, paper ballots for the Academy Awards will no longer be mailed -- all voting will be done electronically.  Read all about it on Entertainment Weekly, the Los Angeles Times, TheCelebrityCafe.com, and other sources.

Beyond being more cost effective and more environmentally friendly, online voting will allow for quicker turnaround for the results once the nominations are announced.  The quicker submission and digital tallying of votes will arguably enable the Oscars to potentially be given out even earlier in the year. 

Some might criticize the change for various reasons, including the potential for fraud, but I don't think it will be any less valid than the paper voting.  The Academy has asked members to provide updated email addresses that are not opened by assistants, etc.  I have heard through the grapevine that some members, even with the paper ballots, would only fill out the major categories and let their assistants fill out the rest (and do you think all the members actually physically mail the ballots themselves?  That's what assistants are for.) 

This is a positive step for the Academy and long overdue.  Maybe this will inspire other institutions, maybe even governments, to more fully embrace electronic voting.  Traditionalists might be annoyed, but the future is now.  Of course, all we need is one mishap -- a hacked system or a server crash or someone who figures out how to rig the digital voting -- for the naysayers to say "I told you so." 

Yet, as I mentioned, paper ballots are really no less secure or less prone to tampering.  We'll just have to trust the accounting firm of Price, Waterhouse, and Company to keep things on the up and up as they have done with the paper voting.