Reports are circulating that 11,000 people voted for Harambe to become the next president of the United States. While people are understandably upset at the prospect of so many Americans throwing their votes away on a tired internet meme, there’s little evidence to suggest people wrote in the dead gorilla on their ballot—at least at that volume.
BuzzFeed traces the “11,000” figure back to this tweet by @JayJazzi, which has been retweeted more than 58,000 times. Reached for comment, the man behind the handle, 24-year-old Canadian Jeffrey Otingo, said he saw the figure mentioned during online news broadcasts during the election.
There’s nothing out there to confirm that statistic, however, and as BuzzFeed notes, it’s highly unlikely given that write-ins are prohibited in nine states. In the majority of states where write-in votes are allowed, candidates must still file paperwork in advance to ensure their votes get tallied and not tossed together in an “other” category. And if you look at Google Trends, interest in Harambe has been on a steady decline for months, making such a coordinated effort highly unlikely.
Then again, stranger things happened Tuesday night.