‘We the People’: Five Years of Online Petitions

Paul Hitlin at Pew Research Center: “Americans are most likely to petition the White House on health care, veterans’ issues, illnesses, immigration, animal rights, holidays and criminal investigations, but the actual impact of petitions was modest and varied…

During President Obama’s first full day in office on Jan. 21, 2009, he issued a statement committing his administration to pursue “an unprecedented level of openness in Government.” His goal was to make the federal government more transparent, participatory and collaborative through the use of new technologies. The broader effort was called the Open Government Initiative, and a key part of it took effect more than two years later when the administration created an online petitioning system called “We the People” in September 2011. The White House promised to use the site to engage with the public and to issue responses to all petitions that reached a given number of signatures within 30 days of creation. The original threshold was set at 5,000 signatures but was increased to 100,000 in later years. As Obama prepares to leave office in early 2017, the site has been active for more than five years and is one of the most prominent legacies of the open government initiative….(More)”