Oscar Votes 123: May 2011

Monday, May 2, 2011


As regular readers of this blog will know, voters in the United Kingdom will soon cast ballots in a May 5 referendum to decide whether IRV (known locally as the Alternative Vote) will be used for future elections in that country. As the decision date nears, one very familiar organization using IRV has endorsed the system -- the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

The Independent reports that AMPAS is happy with the performance of IRV in Best Picture elections and plans to continue using the system. Bruce Davis, Executive Director of AMPAS, voiced the organization’s satisfaction, citing IRV’s support of fair outcomes and boost to voter turnout. Said Davis:
For our most important category we wanted to ensure that more than half the electorate endorsed the choice. We're very happy with the way it's working and we don't plan to change it.

There was a certain trepidation from our members when we first announced it that it might prove more cumbersome. But we explained the system and PricewaterhouseCoopers told us that more members actually voted than before.
Davis went on to point out that skeptics' concerns about the system were overblown:
There were lots of conspiracy theory blogs about how people could rig the voting but they proved fatuous. You want to find the picture that has the broadest support rather than the most passionate support by a minority.
Polls have been close throughout the campaign season, and only time will tell which side of the issue will emerge victorious on Thursday. You can read more on the campaign at the FairVote Blog. But whatever the outcome of the UK referendum, the continued satisfaction of AMPAS with IRV indicates the system’s power to produce fair, widely-supported outcomes -- even in elections as perennially contentious as the Oscars.