Americans Voted for Dead Gorilla

Did thousands of Americans vote for a dead gorilla?


As the dust settles on the news that Donald Trump has beaten Hillary Clinton to win the US presidency, We take a look at some of the more quirky social media trends that emerged with the election results.

The Harambe mandate

Many social media users reacted with disbelief to tweets that were flying around suggesting that more than 10,000 people had voted – not for Trump or Clinton – but for a dead gorilla. What?

Yes, Harambe the 17-year-old Western lowland silverback gorilla who was shot and killed earlier this year after a child fell into his enclosure at Cincinnati Zoo, is said to have received thousands of ‘Write-in- Votes’, an American electoral anomaly whereby you can actually vote for someone not on the ballot paper.

What is Write-in-Vote ?

A Write-in-Vote is Voting a candidate in an election whose name does not appear on the ballot, but for whom voters may vote nonetheless by writing in the person’s name. The system is almost totally confined to elections in the United States. 

Generally, write-in candidates can compete in any election within the United States. Typically, write-in candidates have a very small chance of winning, but there have been some strong showings by write-in candidates over the years.

Write-in candidacies may also be permitted where term limits bar an incumbent candidate from being officially nominated for, or being listed on the ballot for, Re-election

A write-in candidate can file paperwork days, weeks, or even months ahead of the election in order to have their votes tallied. If the candidates dont file, their votes will be dumped into the other category, alongside votes for Santa Claus and me. (Apparently, people like to vote for themselves.)

In terms of Write-in’s the 2016 presidential election could go down as “the year of the write-in vote”.  The names submitted include the serious, bizarre, and silly.

This time in Knox County a total of 3,837 voters wrote in a name for president, more than seven times the amount submitted in the 2012 presidential election when 528 voters wrote-in a candidate.

Alice Cooper, Evan McMullin, burnt toast and Pope Francis also received write-in votes for president from Knox County voters.

Popular American Footballer Aaron Rodgers also received some write-in votes, at least according to his Twitter feed. Like most things, he took it all in stride, and even offered up a heartfelt concession speech of sorts.

I just want to thank all the voters out there who did vote for me,” Rodgers said, via “I know for some people it was between me and Harambe. I think I finished second in that vote.”

But depending on location, those so-called “protest votes” might not even register.

According to the National Association of Secretaries of State, write-ins are actually prohibited in nine states: Arkansas, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and South Dakota. (Mississippi makes an exception if a candidate on the ballot dies or withdraws. And though the Nevada ballot doesn’t include a fill-in-the-blank option, it does allow citizens to vote for “none of these candidates” – an option nearly 6,000 voters exercised during the Obama-Romney matchup in 2012, according to FEC data.)

Whether or not the votes could really have impacted on the results of the election, plenty of people are confused till the end, by the high drama effects created in this election by American media.



Along with thanks and compliments to the sources for the shared data

Creative Commons Copyright © Arrested Developments 2015


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