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June 09, 2017

And the Top 10 write-in votes from the May primary in Philly were...

Elections Write-In Votes
Harambe John Minchillo, File/AP Photo

It's been more than a year that Harambe the gorilla was tragically taken from us. Did Philadelphia remember our fallen hero during May's primary elections?

One of the beautiful things about democracy is how it allows you to vote for whomever – or whatever – you want in any given election.

Yes, the write-in feature of American elections is a wonderful thing and as I’ve done after most recent days at the polls, I have formally reviewed the write-ins from May’s primary.

Turnout was low in the races for district attorney, city controller and a variety of judicial positions. Still, voters expressed themselves in creative ways in the voting booths.

Before we get to the Top Ten write-in votes for Philadelphia’s May 19 elections, let’s touch on some old trends.

As is the case in most elections, there are some names that appear regularly. We’re talking about former Mayor and Gov. Ed Rendell (inspector and judge of elections), former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Alan Greenspan (elections judge), Bernie Sanders (a vote in about every race), Mickey Mouse (election inspector), Elmo (election inspector and judge), Michelle Obama (election inspector), Mumia Abu-Jamal (election inspector and judge) and Al Gore (election inspector).

Photo courtesy/Kyle Cassidy

On March 1, 2007, mayoral candidate Milton Street hosted a press conference outside City Hall that instantly entered Philadelphia political lore since he used a coffin as a prop and sang a gospel song on stage.


Also, T. Milton Street Sr. got a Republican write-in to serve as a Municipal Court judge. (Milton trading in his Uber app for a robe and gavel would be a wondrous thing).

There were people who voted for friends like Revelee Witherspoon (16 votes for election inspector), Ronald Neal (16 votes for election judge) and – my personal favorite of this group – Ulysses S. Vance, 2nd who got a vote for election inspector out of Germantown.

Vince Fumo’s namesake son also received a vote for election inspector near Northern Liberties. 

Democratic district attorney victor Larry Krasner got a Republican write-in vote in a division just off Aramingo Avenue. 

A vote was cast for “Woman” to be an election judge in Center City.

From a media perspective, along with Molly Eichel of the Inquirer (inspector and judge of elections in South Philly, west of Broad Street), I, Brian Hickey, am forced to humbly report that I, too, was deemed worthy of support for a judicial seat on the Court of Common Pleas. (Considering this vote came from another division in my East Falls 'hood, it was probably a friend. So, thanks, friend!)

Those who just missed out on Top Ten inclusion were Karl Marx (superior court judge), Martin Luther King Jr. (superior court judge), V.I. Lenin (city controller) and the late Robin Williams (election judge).

Congratulations to all of the above. 

But now, onto the cream of the May primary write-in crop!

10. Fidel Castro, the late prime minister of Cuba (state Supreme Court; Washington Square West)

Andrew St. George, File/AP

Fidel Castro, leader of a continuing revolt against president Fulgencio Batista and his regime on Sept. 10, 1957, takes time to do some evading at his mountain hideout in eastern Cuba.


9. Soxx, the city’s biggest supporter of those who pick up your trash and recycling (election inspector, election judge, Municipal Court judge; Kensington)

8. Latrice Bryant, former aide to former City Councilman W. Wilson Goode Jr. who has no time for fat chicks who can’t say no to “that extra 2 slices of pie” (election inspector; Germantown)

7. Kawli Leonard, NBA All-Star from the San Antonio Spurs (election judge; Southwest Philadelphia)

6. Satan, from a Democrat (Municipal Court; Kensington)

5. God, from a Republican (Common Pleas Court; Mantua)

4. Donald Trump, president (Democratic votes for Commonwealth Court judge and Common Pleas Court judge in South Philadelphia, and election judge in University City)

Evan Vucci/AP Photo

President Donald Trump and Saudi King Salman pose for photos after a ceremony to mark the opening of the Global Center for Combatting Extremist Ideology, Sunday, May 21, 2017, in Riyadh.


3. “Trump is the Devil” (Common Pleas Court; Fox Chase)

2. Judge Judy of television court show fame (Superior Court; Squirrel Hill)

And onto the top write-in vote, an entity who will always be in our hearts after his tragic death at the Cincinnati Zoo on May 28, 2016

1. Harambe (Supreme Court justice; South Philadelphia’s Whitman neighborhood)

May Harambe rest in peace as we come to grips with the fact that the commonwealth would be a much safer place if he sat atop our highest court.