recommended reading

White House Petition Site Draws Venezuelan Crowds

Nicolas Maduro followed Hugo Chavéz as president of Venezuela.

Nicolas Maduro followed Hugo Chavéz as president of Venezuela. // Ariana Cubillos/AP

The petition website designed to give citizens “a direct line to the White House on the issues and concerns that matter most” is proving popular outside the U.S. as well.

An April 15 We the People petition asking the Obama administration to urge a recount in the Venezuelan presidential election skyrocketed to nearly 100,000 signatures in just two days online, making it one of the fastest growing petitions ever posted to the 19-month-old White House website.

The petition has now received 124,000 signatures and is the second most popular unanswered petition on We the People. It was filed the day after Nicolas Maduro, the handpicked successor of Venezuela’s late President Hugo Chavez, narrowly defeated challenger Henrique Capriles Radonski to win the South American nation’s top office. Capriles has challenged the result, citing voting irregularities.

Nearly 70 percent of people who virtually signed the Venezuela petition did not include a U.S.-based location stamp in their signature, according to a Nextgov analysis, suggesting many of those signatures originated from abroad.

By comparison, 89 percent of signatures on a Nov. 10, 2012 petition demanding a recount of the U.S. presidential election included U.S. location stamps, Nextgov found. That petition received more than 72,000 signatures. Petitions now must garner 100,000 signatures to get an official government response, though that threshold was lower in the past. 

We the People does not allow signers to list international locations when they register with the site and does not require location stamps from U.S.-based registrants. There is no way to determine how many of the signers without location stamps were based in Venezuela versus other nations or to verify that people who register with We the People are located where they say they are.

Nextgov’s analysis was based on 84,379 signatures, or about 68 percent of all signatures on the petition as of April 23. Because of technological limitations we were unable to analyze 100 percent of signatures.

We the People’s popularity abroad has been evident in the past. Petitions asking the president to weigh in on a dispute between South Korea and Japan over the appropriate name for the body of water that separates the two nations, for instance, received more than 120,000 signatures in April 2012. Kurt Campbell, then assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, responded to that petition in July 2012, stating the U.S. would not change its longstanding policy of referring to the water body as the Sea of Japan.

The 32 percent of Venezuela petition signatures that included U.S. location stamps were concentrated in states with large Hispanic populations.

Half of those signatures came from Florida and an additional 19 percent came from Texas, New York and California. Only 31 percent came from the remaining 46 states. Signatures on the U.S. recount petition were much more widely distributed with no single state accounting for more than 2 percent of the whole.

On the Venezuela petition, Miami alone accounted for 23 percent of all signatures with a location stamp. South Florida hosts one of the largest and fastest growing populations of Venezuelan immigrants in the U.S.  

The next five cities with the most petition signers were Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Houston; Hollywood, Fla.; Orlando, Fla.; and New York City. 


[Figures in the graphic below are based on a Nextgov  analysis of 84,379 petition signatures, or 68 percent of all signatures as of April 23. Because of technological limitations we were unable to analyze 100 percent of signatures.]

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Close [ x ] More from Nextgov
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from Nextgov.com.
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

    Download
  • 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.

    Download
  • Effective Ransomware Response

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

    Download
  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

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

    Download
  • 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.

    Download

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