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White House Petitions

On January 11th the White House responded to a petition to build a Death Star: “This isn’t the Petition Response You’re Looking For.” The “Death Star” story brought renewed public attention to “We the People,” the online site to petition the White House. Many had fun with the response, such as the Daily Show (Moment of Zen, Death Star Petition) and c/net (The Empire gloats over White House Death Star petition).

Other responses used the Death Star hook to focus on this petition process as part of the White House’s Open Government program, and on the value of allowing on-line petitions. Examples included Mother Jones, “My God, What Have We Done“, and SFGate, “We the People” White House petitions grow.

The “We the People” Petitions cover a wide range of issues. For example there are 80 petitions that deal with human rights, 40 about firearms, and 6 concerning small business. (To find open petitions by issue, click “Open Petitions” and then “Filter by Issue.”)  Responses to petitions are also available on the site; click “Responses.”

Here are some of the open petitions that caught my attention:

The first three have passed the threshold, so look for a White House response.  The fourth only needs 400 signature; the rest many more.

Interested in seeing if there are any petitions you’d like to sign or perhaps you’d like to post your own petition?  The White House has several pages of information to aid your participation*:  Introduction, Step By Step Guide, FAQ’s, Terms of Participation, and Moderation Policy.  On the sites pages you will find links to “Create A Petition” and “Open Petitions.”

*Note on January 15th, four days after the Death Star response, the White House announced that it would be raising the threshold number of signatures required to receive an official response from 25,000 to 100,000. It was claimed that the Death Star petition would not pass the new threshold. See, NPR, White House Death Start Petition Wouldn’t Pass New Threshold.

One single comment

  1. Andrew Plumb-Larrick says:


    I thought this post from Megan Garber at the Atlantic (“The White House Petition Site is a Joke (and Also the Future of Democracy)”) had an interesting take on this.