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Friday, December 28, 2012

Petitions 101



Okay, so what do I know?  The petitions with which I am most familiar are comprised of signatures garnered outside of grocery stores, churches and post offices.  They consist of signatures recruited at Statehouses across the country for a specific cause. The petitions I have signed in the past have been explained to me on my front doorstep as volunteers went door-to-door to ask for citizens' signatures. Well, wouldn’t you know?  It has all changed.
I discovered just how much the process has changed today.  I was asked to sign a petition
e l e c t r o n i c a l l y!  I had to jump through a series of hoops to offer proof that, yes, I am Dawn Elise Evans.  Once I accomplished that, I was able to sign a petition.  A little rummaging around the website that hosts petitions for the Whitehouse revealed that anyone can petition the Whitehouse about anything. On one hand, it makes the President’s administration seem truly accessible. On the other hand, I wonder about the nuisance requests. I did a little reading after having signed a petition put forth by a young woman; she requested that the government acknowledge Ehler’s-Danlos Syndrome as a disability in the U.S.. As a result of my reading, it turns out that the petition I signed was flawed in its conception. There has to be an “actionable” demand, apparently.  Directed, concise and brief language appears to be a requisite, as well.  It is important not to duplicate a pre-existing or similar petition. The website allows one to review recent petitions, recent responses and a history of petitions. There are pages and pages of information about how to write and put forth a petition at this government website. I come back to my earlier remark. What do I know?

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