White House shares plan for e-petition platform


The White House unveiled Sept. 1 plans for a soon-to-be released online petitioning platform hosted on the White House website. The tool, called We the People, will also come with a promise: The Obama administration says it will consider and respond to all online petitions that get at least 5,000 supporters within 30 days. 

An official, on-the-record response will be provided by White House policy officials, according to a video that accompanied the announcement. Petitions may also be routed to other appropriate offices while under consideration, a White House blog post notes.

The administration may even consider ideas that do not align with its strategy, said White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer during a Sept. 1 press briefing, according to a report from Politico.

"If there are ideas that are ones that we fundamentally disagree with or are bad ideas and enough people come forward, we'll respond to why we disagree with that idea and look for a way to work together on other ideas," Pfeiffer said.

The tool, according to the blog post, will be ready "soon."

"We're announcing We the People before it's live to give folks time to think about what petitions they want to create, and how they are going to build the support to get a response," writes Macon Phillips, the administration's director of digital strategy, in the post.  

Initially, petitions will be assigned a unique URL only know by the creator, that he or she can share with his network. Once the petitioner gathers 150 signatures it will become searchable on whitehouse.gov. Phillips acknowledged that the White House model has drawn largely from the U.K. e-petition platform.

For more:
- see the blog post
- watch a video on the platform
- sign up to be alerted when We the People goes live

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