People might have voted for Harambe, but numbers online are rumor, not fact
Late Tuesday, as a Donald Trump victory was beginning to look possible, tweets began to circulate criticizing thousands of people for supposedly voting for "Harambe" as a write-in candidate.
The tweets, some of which were shared by fairly prominent people online, were full of outrage for the 11,000, 15,000 or 16,000 people they claimed had voted for the gorilla, depending on which figure you saw.
Many of the them also claimed, incorrectly, that the lost Harambe vote could have swayed Florida for Hillary Clinton.
Over 11,000 people voted for Harambe. Harambe is a dead gorilla.— David Leavitt (@David_Leavitt) November 9, 2016
Those 11,000 votes would have saved our country. #ElectionNight
11,000 people voted for Harambe.— Zach Braff (@zachbraff) November 9, 2016
Over 16K people voted for Harambe and Hennessy. Let that sink in. 16 THOUSAND PEOPLE VOTED FOR A DEAD GORILLA AND LIQUOR.— Jake Brown (@JakeBrownRadio) November 9, 2016
15k people voted for Harambe. How many of those people come from Florida? Probably 15k— Jennica Loveland (@jennicaa_) November 9, 2016
The problem is that the Harambe claims started flying on Tuesday night, before write-in results would have been available. On top of that, even if thousands of people had voted for Harambe as a write-in, the specific numbers of 11,000, 15,000 and 16,000 don’t seem to be based on any actual data. That's because in most states, such as Florida, votes for unqualified write-in candidates aren’t counted at all.
In Florida, write-ins are only counted if they’re for candidates who have gone through a process to qualify for the ballot, even though their names aren’t printed on it. None of the six qualified write-in candidates in this year’s election were a deceased gorilla, so there will be no tally of write-ins for Harambe in Florida or at the local level. Same goes for write-ins for Bernie Sanders, Harry Styles or Batman, for that matter.
That doesn’t mean that people in Florida did not vote for Harambe — it’s very likely that some did. It just means that anyone who is quoting a specific number of votes is probably passing on bad information.