Target: United States President Barack Obama
Goal: Official responses to ‘We the People’ White House petitions
In 2011, President Obama promised he would use the White House’s website as a platform for an open and responsive government. The ‘We the People’ petition website was an innovative idea, utilizing the internet to create a pipeline between the government and its citizens. Yet, more than two years after its introduction, the administration has not responded to 30 petitions which passed the signature threshold for official review.
The White House has responded to 134 petitions, but has raised the threshold twice. Originally, a petition only required 5,000 signatures. Later the threshold was raised to 25,000 and now a petition requires 100,000 for an official response. The White House claimed the higher threshold would allow for timelier and better quality responses to petitions. However, those reasons do not accord with the Obama administration’s actions since.
The 30 petitions still unanswered include a demand for genetically-modified food labels – which reached the threshold of 5,000 shortly after the site was launched. Since then, two state governments have passed GMO labeling laws.
Another called for the dismissal of the prosecuting attorney in “hacktivist” Aaron Swartz’ trial after Swartz committed suicide. This petition reached more than double the then-required 25,000 signatures, but still has not received acknowledgement.
The average wait time for these petitions that have yet to be answered is 103 days. That’s three months without a response. Since the White House only needs to respond, it need not agree to the demand, it is unacceptable for the government to leave the petitions without comment for this long.
Sign this petition to hold the Obama administration accountable to their promise and demand responses to the remaining petitions.
Dear President Barack Obama,
When the ‘We the People’ petition program was introduced, it appeared to be a step forward for accountable government and political participation for American citizens. But now, more than two years later, there are 30 petitions left unanswered that have reached the required signature threshold for an official response.
Your administration never promised to fulfill the demands of the ‘We the People’ petitions. Yet, in not answering them, you have broken your promise to the American people for a more accountable and open government. I urge you to respond to present and all future petitions in a timely manner.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Chuck Kennedy via Wikimedia Commons