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Residents of 23 states had petitioned the White House for permission to peacefully secede from the union as of 4 p.m. Monday.
A petition from a Slidell, La., resident posted to the White House’s We the People website the day after President Obama’s reelection seems to have started the trend. Nextgov first reported on that petition on Friday. The other 20 petition were posted over the weekend.
The Louisianan’s petition was mostly an extended quote from the Declaration of Independence suggesting the time had come for his state to “dissolve the political bands which have connected” it with the rest of the nation.
The majority of the secession petitions are carbon copies of the Louisiana petition with just the state’s name changed. A few petitions, such as this one from Texas, offered their own arguments for secession.
The Texas petition crossed We the People's 25,000 signature threshold for an official White House response around 3:30 p.m. Monday. All the other petitions were several thousand signatures shy at that point.
“Every petition that crosses the threshold will receive a response but we don't comment on what the substance of that response will be before it's issued,” a White House official said.
The majority of the secession petitions were from states that cast their electoral votes for Republican challenger Mitt Romney in the presidential contest rather than for the president. Six of the 21 petitions, however, were from states that broke for the president, including petitions from New York and New Jersey.
As of noon Monday, 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, Georgia, Kentucky, Florida, North Carolina, Alabama, Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Arizona.
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.
The Nov. 6 election has sparked renewed interest in the White House petition site, which had been dwindling since its September 2011 launch. Numerous non-secession petitions have also been posted to the site since the president’s reelection, including petitions to loosen regulations on the coal industry and to increase funding for childhood cancer research.
The number of live petitions on We the People had hovered in the mid-30s for several months before the election. There are 66 there now.