Comic Con International is investigating an anomaly that has brought a halt to voting for the Eisner Awards, expected to be presented virtually this summer. While there is no indication of sabotage, CCI is erring on the side of caution after some Eisner voters' personal information was inexplicably replaced by that of other people in the backend of the website created to submit votes for the awards, according to a report at Newsarama. The Eisner Vote site, developed for SDCC by Melchior Thompson & Associates, has been in use for the last couple of years and had no previous reported issues.
How it happened is unclear, as is whether it impacted anyone's existing votes. According to the report, "several returning voters from previous years logged into the site and found portions of their personal information changed to unknown, third parties." The voting was abruptly closed and an investigation into the cause and nature of the "anomaly" is being conducted.
"We have closed voting and are investigating the situation," David Glanzer, chief communications and strategy officer for Comic Con, is quoted as saying. "We will make an announcement as we have additional information. We're sorry for the inconvenience to voters."
Today was supposed to be the deadline for submitting Eisner votes, but shortly before the website was shut down, Comic Con extended it to June 22. It was after that event that Comic Con International began handling the voting, with veteran writer and editor Jackie Estrada serving as the awards' administrator. Her husband and publishing partner Batton Lash won an Eisner for his work on Radioactive Man in 2002.
Serious concerns about the Eisners are rare, but not unheard-of. In 1990, the awards were cancelled as a result of a balloting mix-up. In 2010, comics writer and political blogger James Hudnall admitted, "It seemed to me, as a judge, we favored indy comics. In fact, I made a point of doing so." Such a statement led to fans and professionals questioning whether shining a spotlight on lesser-seen books justified surrendering the appearance of impartiality by the judges.
Any fan whose confidence in the process was shaken in 2010 likely also didn't take well to 2013, when Eisner judge Frank Santoro had to walk back comments he had made about refusing to read any books by creators who had participated in 2012's Before Watchmen event. He claimed that it did not impact his voting decisions, and that he had abandoned that principle once he was named a judge, but DC's lack of nominations that year led a number of fans and professionals to suspect not everything was on the level.