Since 2014, Alaska’s Katmai National Park has held an annual, bracket-style competition where online visitors cast votes to determine which brown bear they believe has gained the most weight ahead of hibernation season. Known as “Fat Bear Week,” the humorous tournament has helped raise awareness of conservation efforts to protect both the bears and their natural habitat.
Despite all the fun and games, some of the results from this year’s contest, however, smelled a little fishy. In a semi-final faceoff between Bear 435 (“Holly”) and Bear 747 that initially saw the former emerge victorious, park authorities soon discovered that the vote totals had been tampered with to give Holly an extra 7,000 votes. The removal of the fraudulent votes was enough to overturn the results of the election, which allowed 747 to advance to the finals and be crowned the competition’s 2022 champion.
“It appears someone has decided to spam the Fat Bear Week poll, but fortunately it is easy for us to tell which votes are fraudulent,” the park announced on Twitter. “Stopped by TSA for smuggling salmon, 435 missed her connection while jumbo jet 747 cleared the runway.”
Holly had previously won the park’s competition in 2019, while 747 claimed victory in 2020.
While ultimately set straight in the end, the bear-y unfortunate incident in Alaska repeats a similar pattern witnessed throughout the rest of the country: Whether it’s a light-hearted tournament comparing the fatness of bears, or regularly held U.S. electoral contests, there’s always some outside force attempting to exert its influence on the outcome of elections.
The 2020 presidential race serves as a prime example of such bear-faced malfeasance, where billionaires such as Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg attempted to boost Democrats’ electoral chances by dumping hundreds of millions of dollars into left-wing nonprofits to fund Democrat “get-out-the-vote” operations from government election offices. Analyses have found that the grants issued by such groups were heavily slanted toward Democrat-majority areas in swing states.
Coupled with efforts by leftist lawyers such as Marc Elias to get courts to alter election laws and censorship by Big Tech to benefit Democrat candidates, the 2020 presidential contest signified an all-out assault on the integrity of U.S. elections by completely partisan actors seeking to manipulate the electorate to amass government power.
Whether it’s casting a ballot for chubby bears or politicians, when all is said and done, Americans deserve to have transparent, clean elections that are free from outside interference.