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And The Oscar Goes To… Election Reform

Saturday, February 13th, 2010

Oscar Ballot

As you know if you’re familiar with our work at Why Tuesday?, the United States ranks near the bottom of all countries in the world in voter participation. Yet our politicians time and again have failed to implement election reforms that help insure that voting is a democratic imperative, not just a right that we have to in some cases literally wait on hours-long lines, or take time off from our jobs, to protect.

Just because the powers that be in Washington, our state capitols and our local governments haven’t been able to enact wide-ranging election reforms (some friends of ours in D.C. have attempted to), it doesn’t mean that the folks at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences aren’t trying. This year, as you fill out your Oscars ballot (and feel free to download your own by clicking here or the image above), you will be a part of election reform history as the ballot-counting method changes from top-vote-getter to Instant Runoff Voting.

Michael Cieply at the New York Times broke down how the tallying will happen:

The best picture will now be chosen by a preferential voting system, rather than the single-choice voting used in other categories. In a statement, Tom Sherak, recently named president of the academy, said preferential voting will help choose the best picture candidate “with the strongest support of a majority of our electorate.”

In the single-choice system, voters pick their film and the one with the most votes wins. Oscar voters will now be expected to rank their best picture choices, one through 10. Without such ranking, the wider field of nominees raised the possibility that a film would win top honors though it was preferred by only a small plurality of voters.

In September we covered this announcement and the reaction by our fellow election reformers in hopes that the Academy would excite Washington. So far, no dice. At least election reform at the Oscars has been covered by everyone from the Associated Press and the New York Times, to the industry websites The Wrap and Movieline.

To see how the system worked (and if they’ll need a recount) tune into the Oscars March 7th on ABC and to Why Tuesday? on Twitter for live coverage.

One Response to “And The Oscar Goes To… Election Reform”

  1. Ilan Ben Menachem Says:

    United States ranks near the bottom of all countries in the world in voter participation.

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