Hot Steaming Democracy With Presidential Coffee Cup Poll

Phil Cup has written for Men's Health, Reader's Digest, Outside, National Geographic Traveler and Field & Stream. He knows a little bit about a lot of things and almost nothing about anything in particular. He is almost completely bald.

coffee cups from the 2012 7-Election PromotionYou can cast your ballot and contribute to America’s landfills at the same time. Every election since 2000, the convenience store colossus 7-Eleven runs a promotion they call 7-Election, tied to the U.S. presidential elections. Coffee drinkers at 7-Eleven are invited to vote by selecting specially marked coffee cups, blue for the Democratic candidate, and red for the Republican candidate.

In case you don’t pay any attention to that sort of thing, this year that is President Barack Obama and  Gov. Mitt Romney, respectively.

Votes are tabulated at the register when the sale is made, thanks to a unique UPC code on each cup. The company also offers a nonpartisan cup for those that don’t wish to participate. National, state and major market results are posted daily on www.7-election.com, a website created especially for the promotion.

The company admits that the voting is “unofficial and unscientific”, with patriotic coffee drinkers voting at participating 7-Eleven stores as often as they want in the two months leading up to the national election.

Despite not being statistically valid, President and CEO of 7-Eleven, Inc., Joe DePinto said in an official press release that it was “astounding just how accurate this simple count the cups poll has been, election after election”.

According to 7-Eleven, over 6 million cup votes were cast in each of the previous elections. That will be over 24 million “votes” by the time the 2012 presidential elections are over.

7-Election cups in landfill

“It looks like Obama is ahead to me…”

Yes, although they are made of cardboard or paper, the thin lining that makes your ballot waterproof also keeps it from being recycled.  All of those cups end up in landfills. 7-Eleven does offer a discount on your coffee if you purchase one of their branded refillable travel mugs, but it appears there is no vote cast for the refillable mug.

7-Eleven says they hope to encourage Americans to vote in the real elections with the 7-Election promotion.

Back in the sixties, 7-Eleven introduced Americans to the concept of the coffee station. An island where a customer could select a size of “to go” cup, and  and add sweeteners and creamers to suit their tastes. Today, 7-Eleven sells more fresh brewed coffee than anything else, over 1 million cups per day.


Politics Are Brewing at 7-Eleven
Retailer Invites Americans to Vote in Fourth 7-Election Presidential Coffee Cup Poll

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