The White House will be forced to respond to its first online petition since upping the signature threshold to 100,000. Created on January 24th, the petition has crossed the 100,000 signature mark in just two weeks.
So, what does it concern? Marijuana? Secession? Drones? Gay Rights?
Nope, a Russian-born political activist. The petition, “We ask American Congress to make The Act of Alexander Dolmatov to punish all Dutch officials responsible for his death,” asks this of the White House:
On the 17th of january, russian political activist Alexander Dolmatov has died in the Dutch prison. He came to Netherlands to get the freedom but found his death. We ask American Congress to make The Act of Alexander Dolmatov which will include «Dolmatov list» to punish all Dutch officials responsible for the death of Dolmatov.
The petition references the death of a 36-year-old Russian-born rocket engineer in a Dutch deportation center. The somewhat clouded circumstances of his death (a reported suicide) have led to plenty of theories.
The White House recently increased the signature threshold required to elicit an official response from 25,000 to 100,000. As we reported, the 25,000 signature threshold was simply too easy to meet and was resulting in dozens upon dozens of unanswered petitions. It was also allowing many less-than-serious (but admittedly fun) petitions to qualify for responses.
“When we first raised the threshold — 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,” said the White House.
In all, the White House’s We The People online petition initiative has seen over 9 million signatures on over 140,000 petitions since its creation.