Fairgoers take political bean poll | NOTABLE

League of Women Voters members Judy Lynn and Susan Berg, both of Coupeville, set up the bean poll  display at the Whidbey Island Fair.  - Photo courtesy of Dianna MacLeod
League of Women Voters members Judy Lynn and Susan Berg, both of Coupeville, set up the bean poll display at the Whidbey Island Fair.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of Dianna MacLeod

Visitors to this year’s Whidbey Island Area Fair had the opportunity to express their federal budget priorities by participating in the League of Women Voter’s first ever “bean poll.”

At the League’s booth, the bean poll display featured eight mason jars meant to represent the eight major categories of the 2012 federal budget. Each visitor to the booth was given eight beans to distribute as they saw fit. Over four days, the beans accumulating in the mason jars provided a graphic demonstration of the budget priorities of a segment of fairgoers.

Of the 474 visitors to the booth, 388 participated in the bean poll.

“From the responses we got, it was evident that a lot of people really do care about our democracy. It was great for the League to have a presence at the fair; people seem to appreciate an organization that looks at the candidates and issues beyond the ads on TV,” said League member Susan Berg in a press release.

League staff also distributed voter registration forms to visitors.

“The bean poll drew folks in to our booth. We wanted them to register in time to vote in our upcoming elections,” said Marshall Goldberg, League member, in a press release. “And the mason jars were ideal for a county fair.”

Since 1920, the League of Women Voters has made its mission to improve government and engage citizens in the decisions that impact their lives. The primary activities of the League include voter education and voter registration. The League neither supports nor opposes candidates for public office.


Bean poll results

Category | Number of beans | Percentage of bean poll | Percentage of federal budget

Education 795 beans 25.6 percent 2.7 percent

Health 666 beans 21.5 percent 24.3 percent

Social Security 505 beans 16.3 percent 20.3 percent

Environment 414 beans 13.4 percent 1.2 percent

Defense 285 beans 9.2 percent 19.7 percent

Income 257 beans 8.3 percent 16.7 percent

Other 223 beans 7.2 percent 7.5 percent

Foreign affairs 155 beans 5 percent 1.3 percent


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