The right to petition the White House for redress of citizens’ grievances, from deporting CNN anchor Piers Morgan to states asking to secede, just got more burdensome.
The White House announced in a blog post that, as of Tuesday, it has raised the threshold of required signatures from 25,000 to 100,000 in order to get the administration to respond to an online petition. The signatures must be amassed within 30 days of filing a petition.
Macon Phillips, the White House director of digital strategy, said the popularity of the website “We the People” has “exceeded our wildest expectations.” The White House originally started the project with a threshold of 5,000 signatures.
“We’re making another adjustment to ensure we’re able to continue to give the most popular ideas the time they deserve,” Mr. Phillips said.
In the last two months of 2012, use of We the People more than doubled, he said. About 2.4 million new users joined the system, 73,000 petitions were created and 4.9 million signatures were registered.
Dozens of petitions filed immediately after Mr. Obama’s re-election involved residents of various states seeking to secede. Mr. Phillips said more than 60 percent of the petitions to cross threshold in all of 2012 did so in November and December.
The director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, Jon Carson, responded to a petition for Texas’ secession, which received more than 125,000 signatures, that an 1869 Supreme Court ruling found states don’t have the right to secede.
“Our founding fathers established the Constitution of the United States ‘in order to form a more perfect union’ through the hard and frustrating but necessary work of self-government,” Mr. Carson wrote. “They enshrined in that document the right to change our national government through the power of the ballot — a right that generations of Americans have fought to secure for all. But they did not provide a right to walk away from it.”
Mr. Carson also was answering secession petitions filed by residents of Louisiana, Alabama and five other states.
Petitions can be started online at this Web address: petitions.whitehouse.gov.