Did Harambe the Gorilla Write-Ins Hand Election to Donald Trump?

Disappointed Twitter users wonder if write-in campaign for slain zoo animal might have made the difference

Last Updated: November 9, 2016 @ 1:00 PM

Did a dead gorilla help determine the next leader of the free world? That was the question on many Twitter users’ minds Tuesday night, as GOP candidate Donald Trump ascended to the presidency.

The social-media platform rippled with speculation that write-in votes for Harambe, a gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo slain in May after dragging a fallen 3-year-old boy through the water in his enclosure, could have helped tip the election to Trump.

“11,000 people voted for Harambe,” wrote actor Zach Braff.

Another Twitter user put forth that the votes supposedly cast for the gorilla “could have saved our country,” writing, “11,000 people voted for Harambe. Let me remind you that Harambe is a dead gorilla. Those 11,000 votes could have saved our country.”

“If you voted for Harambe as a joke I hope those 20 likes on Facebook were worth it,” another complained.

But could a lowly lowland gorilla — and a dead one at that — really possess the power to determine the next president?

Myth-debunking website Snopes.com threw cold water on the theory Wednesday.

As the sleuthing site points out, reports that Harambe amassed 11,000 — or, by some accounts, 15,000 — write-in votes are unverified. While it’s possible that some poll-goers threw a vote in Harambe’s direction, a running tally of write-in votes wasn’t available on Tuesday night, when the 11,000-votes claim began to surface.

And in most states, Snopes noted, write-in candidates are required to fill out paperwork in advance if they want their votes counted separately, and not lumped in with the “unofficial votes” pile. Most likely, Harambe did not submit those forms.

Short answer: On election night there was no way to determine how many, if any, voters threw down for Harambe.

Though it could certainly be forgiven if one thought that a gorilla played a part in the election, given how much poop-flinging occurred during the long campaign.

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