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Answering your questions about We the People

The White House answers your questions on the We the People tool coming soon to

Update: The signatures threshold for petitions on the We the People platform to receive an official response from the White House has changed since this blog post was published.  See the latest signature thresholds.

Yesterday, we announced that we’ll be rolling out a cool new tool on that will change the way you engage with the Obama Administration.  It’s called We the People and it’s a platform for all Americans to create and sign petitions asking the Obama Administration to take action on a range of issues.

Since we announced that this new tool is coming soon to, we’ve gotten a lot of great questions and feedback, so we thought we’d take a stab at answering a few of the common questions we’ve gotten so far. In case you missed it, Macon Phillips, Director of Digital Strategy here at the White House, was fielding questions on Twitter yesterday and you can check out some of the questions and answers on Storify.

And don’t forget to sign up to be the first to know when We the People is live.

How will the White House decide which petitions to respond to?
The initial threshold for a petition to be reviewed by the White House and get a response is 5,000 signatures in 30 days.

Who will be reviewing and responding to petitions?
Petitions that meet the signature threshold will be reviewed by a standing group of White House staff, routed to any other appropriate offices and generate an official, on-the-record response. Most of the time, a response will come from a policy official at the White House or at a federal agency. From time to time, President Obama may also respond to petitions as well. 

It’s our goal to respond to petitions that cross the signature threshold (initially 5,000 signatures) in as timely a manner as possible, but in some cases it may take a few weeks for us to respond.

Will the signature thresholds ever change?
This is the first time we’ve tried something like this, so we may find that we need to adjust the signature thresholds for petitions to receive a response from the White House as people start to use the tool.  If we do change the signature thresholds at any point, we’ll announce the changes publicly on the site, and any changes to signature thresholds will only apply to petitions created after we made the change.

Initially, a petition must receive 150 signatures in order to be publicly searchable on the We the People site and 5,000 signatures within 30 days in order to get a response from the White House.

When we We the People launch?
We the People will launch very soon, so start thinking about the issues that matter to you and who you’ll ask to join you.  And don’t forget to sign up to be the first to know when it is live.

Who can create or sign petitions? 
Anyone over the age of 13 can create or sign a petition through We the People.  In order to participate, users must verify their email address and create an account on

Got more questions? Use the twitter hashtag #WHWeb to give the White House digital team advice and feedback or submit your feedback here.