White House raises signature threshold

Jan. 16, 2013 at 1:31 AM

WASHINGTON, Jan. 16 (UPI) -- Petitioners who want an official response from the U.S. government must now gather 100,000 electronic signatures, the White House announced Tuesday.

The Obama administration said its "We the People" site for petitions has proven more popular than expected. Almost 10 million signatures have been affixed, the announcement said.

"When we first raised the threshold -- from 5,000 to 25,000 -- we called it 'a good problem to have.' Turns out that 'good problem' is only getting better, so we're making another adjustment to ensure we're able to continue to give the most popular ideas the time they deserve," the announcement said.

Among the petitions that have attracted more than 25,000 signatures is one for the development of a Star Wars-style "Death Star." Another sought the deportation of CNN talk show host Piers Morgan, a British citizen who angered guns-rights advocates with his support for gun control.

There have also been many petitions for secession. The one seeking independence for Texas has attracted the most signatures.

"The administration does not support blowing up planets," an administration official said in a letter rejecting the Death Star.

Mediaite reported Tuesday only one petition has gained at least 100,000 signatures. That was the one asking that the Westboro Baptist Church, a Topeka, Kan., congregation known for picketing funerals with signs reading "God hates fags," be declared a hate group. The White House has not yet responded to that petition.

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