Beginning 2013, the Oscars winners can be voted online. On Wednesday, January 25, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences announced that it has signed a partnership with an election expert, Everyone Counts, to "exclusively develop an electronic voting system" for the 85th Annual Academy Awards that will be held next year.
"This is the first of many steps that we'll be taking toward developing a secure and convenient electronic voting system, beginning with next year's ballot," explained Ric Robertson, the Academy Chief Operating Officer, on the planned new balloting system. "We're excited to have found great partners in the people who do this best."
The partnership with Everyone Counts was sealed as a result of the Academy's 18-month search. The company was chosen for its credibility in election administration and computer security in the election industry. Aside from the Academy, Everyone Counts' clients include the U.S. States Department of Defense, the U.K. Ministry of Justice, the state of New South Wales, Australia, and others.
Lori Steele, Chairman and CEO of Everyone Counts, stated, "We are honored to have earned the trust of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in brining online voting for the Oscars starting next year." He added, "Our company was founded to set a new standard of security, accessibility, and transparency in elections. We're proud to be working with the Academy, an organization that also represents the highest standards in its field."
In the past, the Academy Awards voting has been done on paper ballots that were sent through the U.S. mail. A small team of PwC accountants have been tackling the tabulating duty, which results were kept on paper in secured locations rather than in computers which security might potentially be compromised.
"We look forward to working with Everyone Counts for next year's 85th Academy Awards and beyond," stated Brad Oltmanns, PwC balloting leader. "We are excited about the new electronic voting system, which will enable us to conduct the tabulation process with the same high level of precision, trust and integrity that we have for the past 78 years."
The new online voting system will accelerate the voting process for the Oscars. It will help execute the Academy's plan to move its annual prize-giving ceremony a month earlier to late January.
Meanwhile, this year's Academy Awards will take place at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood & Highland Center on Sunday, February 26. Hosted by veteran Oscar host Billy Crystal, the event will be televised live by the ABC Television Network in more than 225 countries worldwide.