The right to petition the US government is guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Throughout our history, Americans have used petitions to organize around issues they care about from ending slavery, to guaranteeing women’s right to vote, to the civil rights movement.
“We the People” on WhiteHouse.gov is a new tool which provides american citizens with a new way to petition the Obama Administration to take action on a range of important issues facing our country. If a petition gets enough support, White House staff will review it, ensure it’s sent to the appropriate policy experts, and issue an official response.
The new online facility launched today (way behind us in Europe!)…but is it any good?
Well, it’s certainly slick…slicker than the new UK ePetition platform. The help (including video tutorial) is particularly friendly. However, I’m not sold on the idea of needing to create an “account”.
Signature numbers are well presented, as are the signees. They’ve even attempted to strucutre the petition prayer (“We believe the Obama administration should…”) although this could go further. You also get issue catagories (nice) – this will certainly help with data sifts and evaluation…it even automatically searches for similar petitions.
You also get keywords and tags, social integration (facebook/twitter).
Nice job, USA.