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The petitions on the White House website initially took about 5,000 signatures to have an official response from the White House. That was then raised to 25,000 signatures to merit an official response. And now that level has been raised even further.
Now it takes 100,000 signatures to get an official response.
Here is the response from the White House:
"When we launched We the People, none of us knew how popular it would be, but it's exceeded our wildest expectations," writes Macon Phillips, the White House director of digital strategy. "Through the past year, interest in We the People exploded and we're closing in on 10 million signatures. When we first raised the threshold [in 2011] — from 5,000 to 25,000 — we called it 'a good problem to have.'

"Turns out that "good problem" is only getting better, so we're making another adjustment to ensure we’re able to continue to give the most popular ideas the time they deserve."

I don't think it's a good problem to have when you're increasing the level at which citizens have to work even harder to make their voices heard. The level of organizing petitions to get to the 25,000 mark has been made harder with the 100,000 signatures mark.

Take this petition about reforming the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act to reflect the realities of computing and networks in 2013 for example. There are currently 2,306 signatures on it, and it was created on January 14, 2013. If the signature rate continued until the deadline of February 13, 2013, it would come out to about 69,180 signatures, falling short of the 100,000 signatures needed to merit an official response from the White House. That's based on the assumption of the signature rate remaining the same, which is highly unlikely, and the monthly deadline for the petition.

I understand that some petitions that crossed the 25,000 mark like the one about the Death Star may have been problematic due to their content since it had to merit an official response from the White House. But I think that all Americans should have the right to have their voices heard, and increasing the petition limit to the 100,000 mark does them a disservice. And that this recent move does not help with the transparency of the White House or the openness of it to the American public on issues that they care about.

Originally posted to slinkerwink on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 05:03 AM PST.

Also republished by The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party and ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement.

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