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Non-secession White House petitions also surge

Africa Studio/

The White House’s online petition site We the People has been inundated since president Obama’s reelection with more petitions than at any time since its 2011 launch.

About 37 percent of those 187 new petitions are from disenchanted Americans who want their state to secede from the union. Another 5 percent are from people criticizing or mocking the would-be secessionists.

Nearly 58 percent of the new petitions are unrelated to secession, though. Those 108 petitions alone represent the second-largest crop of We the People petitions. The only larger batch came just after the site’s September 2011 launch.

Here’s how those non-secession petitions broke down as of noon Monday:

Weed doesn’t lead: For once marijuana legalization is not prime among petitioners’ concerns. Six of the 108 non-secession petitions advocated for looser marijuana laws. Eight petitions sought improved rights for gay, bisexual and transgendered people, the most popular non-secession topic. Seven petitions related to health care reform and six focused on immigration reform.

Liberals and conservatives more evenly split: About 27 percent of the non-secession petitions advocated for a traditionally liberal position compared with 19 percent that supported a traditionally conservative position. This is a stark change from a similar Nextgov analysis soon after We the People launched, which found conservatives were almost wholly absent from the site.

We the People’s long tail: The drumbeat for secession had died down by Monday but some current events watchers were clearly still being drawn to We the People. As of noon, six new petitions had been filed condemning Israel’s recent bombings in Gaza. There were no new petitions, however, related to other post-election news such as negotiations over the fiscal cliff and the FBI investigation into CIA director David Petraeus’s career-ending affair with his biographer Paula Broadwell.

International focus: Reflecting a trend in We the People petitions, about 10 percent of the new non-secession petitions focused on international disputes, many of which the U.S. wields no authority over other than through statements and persuasion. As with the first round of We the People petitions there are no petitions directly addressing the U.S.’s military commitments abroad although one petition does advocate ending drone strikes.

(Image via Africa Studio/

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