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White House Website Petition Threshold Could Soon Be Easier to Reach


“In the two years since we launched We the Peopel more than 10 million users have signed nearly 300,000 petitions."

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A petition to get rid of daylight savings time gained 345 signatures, after it was first posted on the citizens petition page of the White House website on Friday. While that might seem like a desirable idea to many, the proposal still needs more than 99,000 more names before the White House will response.

That threshold could start getting easier.

The “We the People” petition page on is expanding to allow independent groups and websites to gather signatures that can be used for gaining a response from White House officials.

“In the two years since we launched We the Peopel more than 10 million users have signed nearly 300,000 petitions,” Ezra Mechaber, associate director of online engagement for the White House office of digital strategy, wrote on the White House blog.

“Up to this point, we haven't had a way to accept signatures submitted from other sites, but that is about to change,” Mechaber continued. “We're developing a Write API that will allow individuals and organizations to collect signatures from their own platforms and submit them to We the People, all without requiring users to visit our site.”

That will likely make it easier to reach the threshold for a White House response.

To garner a response, a petition posted on “We the People” must reach 100,000 signatures within 30 days of posting, an adjustment made in January up from 25,000 signatures when the petitions were created in 2012, in the middle of the re-election campaign. A petition must gain 150 signatures in a month to even remain on the site. In more than a year since the petitions have been posted, White House staff have provided responses to petitions demanding the legalization of marijuana to the deportation of CNN host Piers Morgan.

The new system provides the ability to sign petitions for third-party platforms.

The announcement comes the same day that President Barack Obama is set to speak to Organizing for Action, the political group that targets grass roots organizing. Such organizing could be key to the president's focus of seeing Democrats regain their majority in the House in the 2014 elections.


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