Today 7-Eleven begins a tryst into pre-election voting by offering customers an opportunity to show support for their preferred presidential candidate by choosing a blue coffee cup for President Barack Obama or red for Mitt Romney.
Undecided voters, or those who don't want to endure the wrath of any lurking pit bulls with lipstick, can choose the regular "nonpartisan" cups.
7-Eleven will keep an automatic running total of the partisan cups sold at each store. National, state and some major market results will be posted daily at 7-election.com.
7-Eleven's "unabashedly unofficial and unscientific" poll has been dead-on the past three elections. The 2000 results were a little weird because (of Florida) a tallying flaw on the part of 7-Eleven, so let's pretend that never happened. Skipping to 2004, Bush nudged out John Kerry in the coffee cup selection process 51 percent to 49 percent. Actual national results: 50.7 percent to 48.3 percent.
In the 2008 election, coffee drinkers reached for a blue cup 52 percent of the time versus 46 percent red. National results: 52.9 percent versus 45.7, respectively.
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So, our only question is, why spend more money on an archaic and fickle voting system, when it can be as simple as picking a damn a cup?
It would be snarky to point out the fact that we can put a robot on Mars, yet it's beyond us to reinforce our democracy with a uniform national voting system. But, maybe we're overthinking it here. If 7-Eleven can nail it by scanning a bar code, maybe we should turn over our voting system to the convenience stores of the country. Think of all the extra lottery tickets they would sell, and all that money goes to lighten our tax load! It's a win-win-WIN! Damn, 7-Eleven. You're brilliant.
The only quirk is working out which neighborhood store is actually your neighborhood store. That could get complicated. Or we could take another cue from 7-Eleven and just let people vote in their own neighborhoods. Would that work? Nah, probably making it too easy now.
Keep track of everything you need to know about your country at the 7-Election website.