Commentary

Online Petitions Take Citizen Participation to New Levels. But Do They Work?

(NY TIMES) CHRISTOPHER MELE, October 9, 2017 — Online petitions are all over the place.

Some are political (like one asking members of the Electoral College to vote for Hillary Clinton as president instead of Donald J. Trump); others are unearthly (like one asking that “Star Wars: The Old Republic” series be shown on Netflix).

That first petition drew 4.9 million signatures on Change.org. Nonetheless, members of the Electoral College voted for Mr. Trump on Dec. 19. The second petition drew over 123,000 names.

There has been a proliferation of these petitions — Change.org has more than 100 million users in 196 countries — but are they effective? Do the intended recipients, often policy makers or elected leaders, pay attention?

Worldwide, Change.org users claim one victory per hour, A.J. Walton, a spokesman for the online petition forum, said in an interview.

Source: Online Petitions Take Citizen Participation to New Levels. But Do They Work? – The New York Times