recommended reading

Citizens of 39 states petition to secede from the union

Texas governor Rick Perry said that he “believes in the greatness of our union and nothing should be done to change it.”

Texas governor Rick Perry said that he “believes in the greatness of our union and nothing should be done to change it.” // Michael Conroy/AP

Click here for our Wednesday morning update of this story. 

This story was last updated at 6 p.m.

As of 6 p.m. Tuesday, citizens of 39 states had asked the federal government for permission to secede from the union using the White House’s We the People online petition site.

Three of those petitions, from LouisianaTexas and Florida had crossed the 25,000 signature threshold to receive an official response from the Obama Administration.

A White House official told Nextgov on Monday that the administration would respond to every petition that crossed the threshold but would not “comment on what the substance of that response will be before it’s issued.”

The flood of secession petitions, which began the day after President Obama’s reelection, had also prompted a backlash with petitions asking the government to “Deport Everyone That Signed A Petition To Withdraw Their State From The United States Of America” and to “Strip the Citizenship from Everyone who Signed a Petition to Secede and Exile Them.”

The petitions had also prompted a response from one elected official. Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who arguably flirted with secession himself, told the Dallas Morning News late Monday that he “believes in the greatness of our union and nothing should be done to change it,” when asked about the Texas petition.

Citizens of historically liberal Austin, Texas also filed a petition Tuesday afternoon asking the federal government to allow them to remain part of the United States if the rest of Texas seceded. Austin “continues to suffer difficulties stemming from the lack of civil, religious, and political freedoms imposed upon the city by less liberally minded Texans,” that petition said. 

The secession petitions seem to have also sparked a renewed interest in the We the People platform itself, which has been hovering at around 30 active petitions the past six months. Since the election, 68 new petitions have been posted to the site, 23 of which had nothing to do with the secession debate.

Two of those petitions had also crossed the threshold for an administration response as of Tuesday afternoon. One of those petitions asked for a recount of the 2012 presidential race. The other sought to legalize marijuana, which has proved the most popular petition topic on We the People.

Petitions are removed from We the People if they fail to reach the response threshold within one month.

Dozens of petitions were posted to We the People after its September 2011 launch, but the rush of new petitions slowed soon after the first crop of responses, which petitioners complained seemed rote and unserious.

As of 6 p.m. Tuesday, secession petitions had been filed by citizens of Arkansas, South Carolina, Georgia, Missouri, Tennessee, Michigan, New York, Colorado, Oregon, New Jersey, North Dakota, Montana, Indiana, Mississippi, Kentucky, Florida, North Carolina, Alabama, Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Arizona, Nevada, Delaware, Ohio, California, Wyoming, Utah, Kansas, Alaska, Pennsylvania, Nebraska, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Virginia, Rhode Island, Idaho, New Hampshire and Illinois. 

Puerto Rico residents also filed a petition Nov. 8 asking the White House to act on a non-binding referendum in which the island territory’s residents favored U.S. statehood.

Discuss the future of Federal IT with experts, innovators and your peers on Dec. 3 in Washington at Nextgov Prime, the defining event in the federal technology landscape. Learn more at

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats


Close [ x ] More from Nextgov

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • Effective Ransomware Response

    This whitepaper provides an overview and understanding of ransomware and how to successfully combat it.

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.