Coming Soon: Get Obama's Attention with a Petition to the White House

The White House plans to launch a tool so U.S. citizens can directly petition the Obama administration to take action on issues they care about -- as long as they have an email address and can get at least 5K signatures. Naturally, the administration wants people to use social media to get support for their petitions.

In a mass email, senior adviser to the president David Plouffe framed "We the People" as an initiative in line with the country's founding documents (the First Amendment guarantees the right to petition government, notes the official website ). To get you really excited, Plouffe writes, "President Obama will even answer a few himself."

Macon Phillips, the White House new media director, noted in a tweet that the system does not have a way to verify U.S. citizenship. He also said the 5K threshold might change as they "learn more about volume and use."

While lobbying groups will surely co-opt We the People, we can also envision petitions for issues the administration might not want to discuss or respond to -- say marijuana legalization.

"I don’t take any of these initiatives seriously," Washington Post columnist and scholar Vivek Wadhwa, who recently wrote about "the death of open government," told LAUNCH.

San Francisco-based Votizen makes it easy for registered voters to reach their state and federal elected officials and organize support for open letters, but it's not set up for petitioning the administration., a project of left-wing, let's anyone create a petition.

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