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.