White House Makes It Easier to Sign Petitions

    June 26, 2014
    Josh Wolford
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The White House’s online petition site We The People, despite its many flaws and shortcomings, is pretty damn popular. According to the White House, it has over 14 million users and has logged over 21 million signatures in the couple of years it’s been up and running. Last year, they had to up the signature threshold to 100,000 for a response, due to the site’s popularity and the relative ease at which wacky petitions from secessionists could gain the then-required 25,000 signatures.

But in order to sign any petition, We The People has always forced you to create an account. Today, that changes.

“Since launch, we’ve heard from users who wanted a simpler, more streamlined way to sign petitions without creating an account and logging in every time. This latest update makes that a reality,” says Ezra Mechaber, the White House digital Strategy Office’s Deputy Director of Email and Petitions (yep, it’s a thing).

“We’re calling it ‘simplified signing’ and it takes the account creation step out of signing a petition. As of today, just enter your basic information, confirm your signature via email and you’re done. That’s it. No account to create, no logging in, no passwords to remember.”

So, it’s not going to be as easy as replying as AssButts420 at the email address assbutts420@goforkyourself.com, but a simple email confirmation to sign is less laborious than the account creation process, and will likely encourage more signatures.

We The People’s biggest issue has never been interest, however. The main problems with the White House’s online petition initiative have always been joke petitions and the tendency to just ignore a bunch of petitions.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

  • Loki57

    This important story could have been improved, with one addition and one correction.

    The jump from 25k to 100k signatures didn’t happen at a time when the White House site was overrun with “wacky petitions from secessionists”. It happened as petitions to fire (arguable domestic enemies) Assistant US Attorney Carmen Ortiz and her henchman Steve Heymann rapidly gained signatures, calling for nothing else but fair and uniform civil rights enforcement, even against persecutors acting with impunity, in that case by tormenting Aaron Swartz to death for daring to attempt free and open access to tax funded public information. At the same time was another petition Obama has blown off responding as agreed, calling for him to spend one hour at lunch with the author of books that outline the leading Fair Tax plan to end the history of fraud and criminal empire called the IRS.

    IOW, Obama changed the rules to raise hurdles for serious issues that made him uncomfortable, not to filter off a few nutcases. That flies in the face of civil rights demanding enforcement attaching to any one living citizen, and hurdles that demand viral marketing or being ignored resulting in tolerance for oppression.

    The other problem, which I haven’t checked since the change, was that the technical construction of the site would not allow logins and signatures using a well secured browser, eg Firefox with NoScript and partial whitelisting, and Ghostery, HTTPS-Everywhere, etc. It would work on close to vanilla configs Chrome, IE, etc. That’s bad practice and should be banned for government broadly, with the White House setting examples to avoid software coercion (eg, Silverlight for land records?) or blacklist responsible security practices.

    A third issue where Obama acts like a mainstream Republican, is censorship of words and topics. The site policy is bigotry based, and bans so much as quoting examples from Supreme Court opinions in official legal archives, were one to demand FCC v Pacifica based judicial fraud and regulatory religious bias over “fuck” and other words arbitrarily deemed similar, be ended in agency process even if reversing judicial fraud is outside Executive powers.

    Notably as to such policy bias, on the UK hosted social science based site PoliticalCompass.org , Obama has moved on that grid to the spot formerly occupied by Bush junior when he took office, allowing nutcase religiocrazies to push the GOP further into the Fascist Right wing corner, while Dem’s officially became the party of big corporations oppressing ordinary people and civil rights. With that kind of loud and proud Obama “Fuck You!” to most voters, it shows just how conflicted the idea of even having an open petition site is to Dem leadership.