(WASHINGTON) — A petition for Texas to secede from the union, submitted to the White House, reached the number of signatures needed to draw comment from the Obama administration Monday.
The petition appeared on a section of the White House website called “We the People” that invites users with a U.S. zip code to submit or sign petitions about policy changes they would like to see. A petition must reach 25,000 signatures within 30 days for the administration to comment on it.
The petition to “Peacefully grant the State of Texas to withdraw from the United States of America and create its own NEW government,” was submitted on Friday of last week. Just three days later, it zoomed past the 25,000 mark at 3:22 p.m. Monday and kept going.
In order to sign a petition, users must register with the site using a valid email addresses and entering their zip codes. The site’s terms of participation indicates it has mechanisms in place to block spam, but it does not say anything about verifying zip codes or state residency.
Many signatures on the petition came from Texas, but some also claimed to be from other states, including Flagstaff, Ariz., Pinebluff, Ark., and Rio Rancho, N.M. Some did not publicly list their residency.
At least 17 other states have similar petitions to the Texas secession request on the We the People forum including New Jersey, New York, Montana, Colorado, Louisiana, Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, North Carolina, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, South Carolina, Oregon and Michigan. The closest behind Texas was Louisiana with 15,617 signatures.
In 2009, Texas Gov. Rick Perry hinted that anti-Washington sentiment could lead residents of his state to seek independence from the union.
“There’s a lot of different scenarios,” Perry said. “We’ve got a great union. There’s absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that. But Texas is a very unique place, and we’re a pretty independent lot to boot.”
At time of publishing, Perry’s office had not responded to a request for comment.
So far, the president has not commented on the petition and there is no guarantee that he will. The terms of participation give the president some loopholes.
“To avoid the appearance of improper influence, the White House may decline to address certain procurement, law enforcement, adjudicatory, or similar matters properly within the jurisdiction of federal departments or agencies, federal courts, or state and local government in its response to a petition,” the site says.
The White House has refused to comment on a requests for an investigation into allegations that Rep. Chris Dodd took bribes, clemency for Native American activist Leonard Peltier and the release of accused WikiLeaks whistleblower Bradley Manning.
The White House did respond to a petition that gained fewer than 13,000 signatures this fall: the petition seeking the White House beer recipe.
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