The ubiquitous U.S. corner store 7-Eleven is helping with an unlikely type of convenience: Polling in the upcoming U.S. election. For the last three elections, the store has made red and blue cups to represent the candidates. When customers come to get their coffee, they have the opportunity to "vote" for one of the two main parties. For the upcoming election, that data will be included in the 7-Eleven Election API, so developers can have ready access to the current entirely unscientific polling numbers.
The company says its results in the past have been within "a couple of percentage points of the popular vote." As Americans know, it's the electoral college that determines the winner, so local results have a greater impact than the popular vote. For that reason, 7-Eleven lets developers get down to the neighborhood level for results.
7-Eleven's new service is similar to Walgreens first API in that it's a major brick-and-mortar chain dipping its toe into API waters. Just as Walgreens plans additional APIs, so does 7-Eleven, which points to its product catalog and other location data as likely next steps.